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BSP will back ‘more capable, popular’ Meira Kumar in Prez poll

The chief of JD (U) and Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said that Meira Kumar has been chosen as opposition’s presidential candidate only to lose the elections.He also recalled that it was Nitish Kumar’s JD-U which initiated the discussions for a joint opposition candidate against an NDA nominee. It is in the overall fitness of things, the ruling party and the opposition owes the nation not only a free and fair contest leading to the installation of a dignified Head of State. “We do hope that other parties also join us”, Gandhi said. Several Opposition members have expressed that there couldn’t have been a better candidate than Meira Kumar and that it is not her Dalit background that has earned her the vote but in fact her credentials.On June 22, when the Opposition announced a counter-candidate, Meira Kumar, Banerjee promptly extended support to her candidature. The presidential election will be held on July 17 and it will be a dalit vs dalit contest with Kumar pitted against NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind.Paswan whose party is a key allay of the BJP has welcomed Kumar to the NDA.”Since Nitish Kumar has a huge following among Bihar’s women after his prohibition move, his not supporting Meira Kumar will certainly create some trouble even in his own party, the JDU”.Following the announcement, Prime Minister Modi reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to seek the grand old party’s support for Kovind.Kovind said he would do his best for the country’s all-round development, fulfilment of youths’ aspirations and encouragement to modern education. Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, DMK’s Kanimozhi and National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, RLD chief Ajit Singh also attended the meeting.She is the daughter of late freedom fighter Babu Jagjivan Ram, a prominent leader for Dalits – previously known as “untouchables” who lie at the bottom of India s deeply entrenched social hierarchy. Notably, SP and BSP went along with the Opposition choice. The sources suggested that fielding a Congress candidate is something that will come in the way of bringing the JD (U) back to the Opposition flock notwithstanding her being from Bihar.Pawar is learnt to have told Opposition leaders that he was in talks with the Centre on the issue of farmers’ stir in Maharashtra, and urged them to postpone the meeting by a day.The BJP said, the Congress has made Kumar a “scapegoat” by fielding her and questioned why the party did not nominate her when it was in a position to get her elected to the highest office.