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Opposition a divided house over Presidential election: BJP

“The NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind will be in the state capital tomorrow and will be going to Uttarakhand the next day”, national general secretary of the BJP Bhupendra Yadav told PTI.AIADMK (Amma) faction leader T T V Dhinakaran today announced the camp’s support to NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential poll.The opposition parties have fielded Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, against Kovind.The battle has been touted as a “Dalit vs Dalit” contest, given the respective candidate’s backgrounds.Though earlier, the Mayawati-led BSP extended their support to Kovind, but after the nomination of Kumar, they recalled their support. The term of President Mukherjee ends on July 24.The BJP has prepared four sets for Kovind’s nomination.”The NDA took a new initiative in this Presidential election of reaching out to every political party despite having sufficient voting numbers”.Besides NDA constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD (U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an nearly foregone conclusion.While Kovind is, as maverick BJP member “Shotgun” Sinha said, eminently qualified for the post, in the politics of caste calculus his chief qualification seems to be that he belongs to the Dalit community.Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 per cent of votes, and the finally tally depends on how some still- undecided regional parties vote, BJP sources said.The BJP is keen to exploit Kovind’s candidature – he is a Koli (sub-caste of Dalit) from Kanpur – in Uttar Pradesh, which has the maximum electorate.With the presidential elections approaching, Union Minister of State for home Hansraj Ahir on Friday said that all sections of the society are satisfied with the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind as the next leader of the nation, adding his selection is certain. The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002.”I am thankful to all those who have supported me, will do everything to maintain the dignity of country’s top post”, Kovind said.