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Presidential polls: JD(U) supports Ram Nath Kovind’s nomination, to skip Opposition’s meeting

The AIADMK’s rebel faction led by former Chief Minister O Pannerselvam today made a decision to back NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind for the July 17 presidential poll.”Our party has named Ram Nath Kovind as the Presidential candidate considering his distinguished political career”.Joining the critics of NDA’s Presidential nominee, Shiv Sena said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls. “17 paties came together on the issue of Presidential election and if some parties take a different decision…”Meanwhile, the electoral college numbers seem to be stacked in favour of Kovind and he may well end up getting more votes than incumbent Pranab Mukherjee and his predecessor Pratibha Patil.The Left parties, which were earlier garnering support for former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, are slated to meet on June 22. Kovind was the former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha.”If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the goal of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said”. RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar were also present at the iftar. “The party discussed the issue at the consultative meeting and chose to extend support to him”.Sources said the move has gained currency after BSP supremo Mayawati suggested that her party can back the Opposition-sponsored candidate, if there was a “better Dalit candidate” than the BJP-led NDA’s choice – Mr Kovind.Shiv Sena has announced its support for Ram Nath Kovind, the BJP’s nominee for the Presidential Election. “But whatever be our decision, it will in no way impact our unity”, JD (U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said.The Sena’s announcement comes as an additional support for the ruling BJP which has already received adequate backing from constituents of the NDA as well as non-NDA parties such as Biju Janata Dal and Telangana Rashtra Samiti to Kovind’s candidature.Nitish was the first leader who congratulated Ram Nath Kovind in Governor House.Another non-NDA party, Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSR Congress Party has given thumbs-up to Kovind.