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Congress hopes JD (U) changes stance, supports Bihar’s ‘daughter’ Meira Kumar

Gandhi was supported by leaders of 17 opposition parties at the meeting where Kumar was chosen as their candidate for the presidential election.Announcing the candidature of Kumar, whose father, ex-deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram, was often hailed as one of the tallest Dalit leaders in the country, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, “17 Opposition leaders have chose to jointly field Meira Kumar”.As known 17th July is the date for Presidential Polls. Both Kovind and Kumar are aged 72.With Congress choosing Meira Kumar, daughter of late Babu Jagjivan Ram a Dalit strongman of Bihar against Kovind, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar finds himself in a tight spot.Kumar was elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha in June 2009 and constantly emphasised on productive use of time by the members.In her speeches, Kumar has said that the country’s sustainable growth is not possible without ending the centuries-old exclusion of marginalized groups such as scheduled castes and tribes.”If the Congress and RJD are keen on Opposition unity, they must form a solid alliance now for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and project Nitish as the PM candidate”, said a JD (U) leader. So every party of Bihar should not think about anybody but support Meira Kumar. Already Kerala unit of JD (U), who have lone MLA, has announced that they will not support Nitish Kumar’s view. “We do hope that other parties also join us”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said.Asked whether she was upset with Nitish Kumar for supporting the NDA nominee, she said, “I am not upset with anybody”.The NDA, including Shiv Sena and the Peoples Democratic Party of Jammu and Kashmir, which has extended support to Kovind, commands the support of 48.93 per cent in the electoral college made up of MPs and MLAs. “Our decision to support Kovind remains unchanged”. The decision was taken after 17 Opposition parties met in the national capital today to pick their candidate.Kumar said the post embodied the diversity of India’s socio-political culture and the vision of its “composite ideology”. With Kovind also being a Dalit, this makes it a Dalit vs Dalit Presidential contest.”I will meet and appeal him”, Lalu said adding that only Nitish knows whether he has cheated us or not. Nitish talked to Sitaram Yechury and agreed on Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s name, which the Left floated. Leaders from Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav skipped the meeting. “I was told he is a lawyer, so I called Satish Mishra (BSP)”. But RLD chief Ajit Singh attended, making up for the numbers. The party’s leader and former J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah was present at the meeting.