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Not Backing ‘Bihar’s Daughter’ a ‘Historic Blunder': Lalu to Nitish

All the 17 parties had proposed her name, he said.RJD leader Lalu Yadav, after the meeting selecting Meira Kumar, told some reporters that he would return to Patna and try to persuade the chief minister to change his mind.”It is matter of pride that a person who belongs to a rural background will take over the highest Constitutional post”, he said. Although, the Opposition may have been forced to zero-in on Kumar after Mayawati’s statement where she said that she would only support the Opposition’s candidate if it were a Dalit.Meira Kumar, who is the daughter of former deputy Prime Minister and senior Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram, served as the Lok Sabha Speaker in the second UPA regime.Kumar, a five time MP, was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009.The Congress has stepped up its efforts to keep the opposition united as its top brass held discussions with the leaders of a host of other parties after the JD-U’s decision.The Opposition that was rallying around the candidature of former West Bengal Governor Gopal Gandhi had to change track after the BJP, nearly triumphantly, announced Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential candidate.Pawar was keen on Shinde but the “sense of the gathering” ultimately went with Meira Kumar.BJP president Amit Shah had announced the name of Kovind as NDA’s consensus candidate for the post of Indian President. He called Meira Kumar “Bihar ki beti” (daughter of Bihar). But we had reached out to them and asked for their support.”This is a fight of ideologies, no midway here”. However, the RJD chief said that Kumar’s decision will not affect their alliance in Bihar.The decision to support the former Lok Sabha Speaker was taken in a meeting of 17 opposition parties at the Parliament Library today. He is merely a regional leader but he is acting as if he has national appeal.The non-Jatav Dalits are showing more interest on the BJP of late and this gives the saffron camp a good opportunity to ensure that they can do it even if the Muslims, whose numbers are significant in UP, do not vote for them in the days to come. How does he justify his support to Kovind now that a dalit from Bihar has been nominated from opposition?The Left: Though the parties were initially backing Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi or BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, they have finally agreed to rally behind Meira. The CPI also urged Kumar as well as BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik to re-consider their decision to support Kovind.