Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Nitish breaks ranks with Opposition, supports BJP's Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind

"All the leaders have decided that we will support Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president".

Mr Birendra said the Opposition parties would also deliberate on the JD (U)'s decision to support Mr Kovind in their meeting Thursday.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Monday announced Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind would be the government's candidate for the country's top post.

But the promised support from BJD, TRS and YSR Congress and the likely backing from AIADMK could offset the shortfall.

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After his nomination Kovind also drew flak from many quarter especially on social media networks for his 2010 remark against including Muslims and Christians in the Scheduled Caste category. He described Kovind as a BJP ideologue and said the opposition wanted a "neutral" candidate not belonging to any political party per se. The leaders discussed Ms Kumar's nomination, sources said, and also reviewed preps for tomorrow, when Mr Kovind, 71, will file papers for the presidential elections, which will be held on July 17.

The Supreme Court lawyer, serving as Bihar Governor since August 2015, Kovind rose in the party ranks being one of the first few Dalits to join the Hindu right-wing party.

Meanwhile, a divided Opposition is heading into a crucial meeting today to decide on the nominee for the presidential poll against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind. He was accompanied by his wife during the meeting at Vajpayee's residence.

"We will take our decision on June 22".

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The decision, however, was welcomed by some of the political leaders including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The Left parties are keen on the opposition putting up a candidate because they see the Presidential election as an "ideological battle" and the NDA candidate as an RSS-backed man.

When asked if Sena will back opposition parties if they announced the name of either Bhagwat or Swaminathan, Thackeray said, "I had announced names of Mohan Bhagwat and Swaminathan a week back". Votes in the presidential elections will be counted on July 20, three days after voting.

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