Kick-starting his nationwide tour from his home state to seek support from various political parties, NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind today met with MPs and state legislators of BJP and its allies from Uttar Pradesh. Accompanied by Union minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP National General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav, Kovind drove straight from the airport to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s official residence for his interaction with the legislators.
Adityanath and other senior BJP leaders and ministers received 71-year-old Kovind at the airport. At the CM’s residence on the Kalidas Marg, he interacted with a host of senior party leaders including Union ministers Uma Bharti and Gadkari, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma. He also met with UP Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit. Sakshi Maharaj, the BJP MP from Unnao adjoining Kanpur from where Kovind hails, was also present.
Bhupender Yadav, Kovind’s authorised representative for the presidential poll, said he has come to Lucknow to seek support from the members the electoral college. He will now visit other states, Yadav said.
BJP sources said a Union minister, a senior organisation leader from the party and two MPs will accompany Kovind during his nationwide tour to reach out to all members of the electoral college. Though his meeting will be with the supporting MPs and MLAs, Kovind will make an appeal to all the members of the electoral college in every state to support him.
Opposition parties have fielded former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, a Dalit leader, against Kovind. With over 62 per cent of votes firmly behind him, Kovind’s election as the next president is almost certain. Besides, the BJP and its NDA allies, parties like the TRS, YSRCP, AIADMK, BJD and the JD(U) have announced their support to him.
The presidential election is scheduled for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20. While Kovind filed his nomination papers in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NDA chief ministers in New Delhi on June 23, Kumar is yet to file hers. Kovind, if elected, will be the second dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office, the first being KR Narayanan.