Presidential election 2017: On the day when BJP led NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind filed his nomination for Presidential election, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar lashed out at Opposition parties asking why did they pick daughter of Bihar Meira Kumar to fight a losing battle. “Is daughter of Bihar just chosen to fight a losing battle,” Nitish Kumar said while talking to reporters in Delhi. “We have taken independent decisions in the past also, we had supported Pranab da as President when we were in NDA,” Nitish Kumar said. “This is not a political issue, and it should not be made a subject of political confrontation,” he added. Nitish Kumar was in city to attend the iftar party hosted by outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Meira Kumar has been fielded by Congress led Opposition parties to face NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind.
Earlier, in the day, NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind had filed his nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a battery of NDA chief ministers and party leaders. BJP President Amit Shah and party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were present during the filing of nominatons. All chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and its allies except Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir were present. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were among those present.
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 almost foregone conclusion.
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, PTI reported quoting a BJP source. Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002. A low-profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014. The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probables but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a political masterstroke. He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.