U to meet on Wednesday over Presidential poll

The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday ended the suspense over the likely successor to President Pranab Mukherjee by naming Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's presidential candidate, in a move that would change party equations.

Chennai: Accusing VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan of double standards, the BJP claimed that the VCK leader opposed the NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind with ulterior motives.

NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has resigned as the Governor of Bihar.

Asked if the Shiv Sena would support the opposition parties if they fielded a Dalit candidate, Uddhav Thackeray said his stand will not change now.

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS Chief Rao also extended his support to NDA's presidential candidate after speaking to Prime Minister Modi. He had also said that the Sena would not support the BJP nominee if he was picked only because he was a Dalit.

In the presidential elections itself, Kovind's candidature will attract other parties which hope to benefit from associating with a Dalit leader. Especially in Bihar, where Mr Kovind has served as Governor since August 2015 and where the two main partners in government, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, have a propensity for disagreement. Emphasising that ordinary citizens must have the right to react, he said the person's response "could be for wrong-doing or his reaction could be for rectifying them, whatsoever it may be".

However, another prominent opposition face Mamata Banerjee had not supported Kovind for the presidential candidate. The Congress is keen on playing the farm-er card to counter the BJP's dalit card at a time when there has been countrywide farmers' unrest.

For the BJP it is still a long way to go before it can actually bring up a mass leader from among the Dalits and nominate him/her for an important office.

The names of Meira Kumar and Shinde have been floated to counter the NDA so that parties like the BSP would have no problem going against the NDA Dalit candidate.

Meanwhile, Ram Nath Kovind met the Home Minister Rajnath Singh also today in the national capital. But instead of coming to us with the proposal they announced the candidate.

With the backing of parties outside the alliance, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (2 percent), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (5.39 percent), Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress (1.53 percent) and Biju Janata Dal (2.99 percent), the NDA's support could cross the half-way mark to reach almost 61 percent in the July 17 battle.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28.

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