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Opposition Set to Take Call on Presidential Candidate Against BJP’s Kovind

BJP President Amit Shah will also be present when Kovind files his papers, as will the Telangana and Tamil Nadu chief ministers, two leaders from non-NDA parties supporting Kovind, people familiar with the development in the southern parties said.Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, virtually the entire council of Union ministers, NDA chief ministers and MPs and MLAs from across the country will be among proposers and seconders of his candidature.They are arguing that opposing Kovind will not only dub other parties as anti-Dalit but will also bridge the gap between the ruling BJP and Dalit community and in the long-term help get votes.NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind has been given ‘Z+’ and NSG security cover by the central government.The opposition parties believe that the manner in which the BJP kept Kovind’s name a secret till it was finally announced was against the spirit of developing a consensus on naming a presidential candidate.After the sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh state assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had moved much closer to sending its choice candidate as the new occupant at Raisina Hill.”Amit Shah had called me yesterday and told that BJP has made a decision to field Ram Nath Kovind for the election, and all the alliance partners of NDA are with them”.However, there were last-minute concerns about the JD (U)’s support for Kovind now that Meira Kumar, who hails from the party’s stronghold of Bihar and is the daughter of prominent Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram, has been fielded by the Opposition.Nitish has called a meeting of the JD (U) core committee in Patna on Wednesday to discuss the issue.That Nitish would choose Kovind, a Dalit, over the yet-to-be-named Opposition candidate had become obvious when the CM praised him soon after the NDA announced his candidature on Monday. The election is scheduled for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20.President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to also discharge the function of Governor of Bihar until further notice.