Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday praised Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to pick former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its candidate for Presidential Elections 2017. The Samajawadi Party patriarch added that Amit Shah-led BJP can well manage the required gap in number of votes needed for the presidential elections. “BJP has majority, if 1% or say 5% is required then BJP can manage it. Can’t say what will opposition decide,” Mulayam Singh Yadav said. “BJP has given a good candidate. I have very old relations with him,” he added. Yadav will also be attending a dinner function to be hosted by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, later in the day, ANI reported. Earlier, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, another heavyweight from the state of Uttar Pradesh, had supported Kovind’s candidature for the top post. Speaking to media in Lucknow on Kovind’s candidature, BSP chief Mayawati said: “The BSP’s stand cannot be negative towards a Dalit nominee for the post of president. Our stand will be positive provided the Opposition does not field any Dalit for the top post.” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also praised Kovind, however, he refused to make a comment on extending support to the candidate. Speaking to reporters at Raj Bhavan, Nitish said, “In my capacity as the Bihar CM, it is a matter of happiness that our governor has been declared as the candidate for the next President of India.” From Odisha, Naveen Pattnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has also announced its support for NDA’s presidential candidate.
Opposition parties, however, have decided to meet on June 23 to discuss the Presidential Elections. Adressing a press conference on Kovind’s candidature, Congress spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the opposition was not taken into confidence for the decision. “BJP leaders when they met us said will inform you before any announcement for a consensus,but they informed after decision,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. “We are not going to comment on this decision yet, nothing to say,” Ghulam Nabi Azad added.
Later, CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury also said that BJP didn’t consult his party before the announcement. “Ram Nath Kovind ji RSS ke Dalit sakha ke pramukh thay, wo ek rajneeti hua na. Ye seedhi seedhi rajneetik takrao hai, (Ram Nath Kovind was the chief of RSS’ SC wing. It’s a straight political confrontation)” Sitaram Yechury was quoted as saying by ANI. “Opposition parties are meeting on 22nd. Only once in history of independent India has the president of India been elected uncontested,” Yechury added.