Biju Janata Dal president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced his party's support to NDA presidential poll candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "Based on the request of BJD, many parties including the BJP had supported his nomination", he said.
"We have decided that Ram Nath Kovind will be the NDA presidential candidate", Shah told the media, adding he was likely to file his nomination on Friday. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad declined to go into the merits and demerits of Kovind and did not say whether or not the opposition will field a candidate.
"Shah informed him (Thackeray) about the BJP choice and also sought the Shiv Sena's support for Kovind's candidature", Raut said.
Making Kovind a presidential nominee works to the BJP's advantage as the party is widely seen as dominated by privileged Hindu upper castes.
Notably, President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24. "Kovindji was the chief of the RSS Dalit branch".
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that all parties were consulted. So somewhere it is a political fight or a contest.
"It was their (BJP's) proposal that they will get back to the opposition after zeroing on a candidate". And instead prefer a candidate who has worked under them at some point or the other, and hence remains beholden for the post. "Now we will take a call". Voting for the next president is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20.
As per the Election Commission of India, the last date for deciding the nominees for the ruling NDA's Presidential candidate is June 28.