Presidential Election 2017: Cracks in the Opposition is open ahead of this crucial election. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BSP chief Mayawati, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and AIADMK’s O Pannerselvam faction have hinted their support for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. The Congress, however, still hopes that Nitish, who could have been a crucial plank in an Opposition grand alliance ahead of the Presidential election, would support Opposition’s nominee.
On Wednesday, Kumar chaired a meeting of party leaders in Patna that decided to support the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President’s post. On Thursday, however, Mallikarjun Kharge termed Nitish’s support to Kovind his personal decision. “It might be Nitish Kumar’s personal decision. Earlier, when the all-party meeting took place, Sharad Yadav had suggested that we should not decide on the candidate so soon and should wait for the Government to come up with its candidate. All the parties’ leaders will come today and what steps are to be taken will be decided. Suggestions from all the parties will be heard and then a decision would be taken,” Kharge told ANI.
Interestingly, Kumar had pitched for an Opposition grand alliance much before BJP-led NDA stumped the Opposition by nominating the Dalit leader and now former Bihar governor Kovind. Reports say, Kumar and Kovind have shared cordial relations for the last two years in Bihar, in which Nitish ensured the implementation of anti-liquor law despite criticism. Kovind stood by him all along.
There is hardly any reason Kumar and his party would not vote for Kovind, who is all but set to win.
The Opposition leaders met today to pick a joint candidate. Reports say that they have picked Dalit leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.
The nomination Meira Kumar from the Opposition camp has make Presidential election a Dalit Vs Dalit fight. With the kind of numbers BJP and its allies enjoy at present, Kovind is expected to win comfortably. Nervertheless, it remains to be seen if the Opposition will manage to put a respectable fight.
The Opposition are apparently against Kovind’s nomination as they were not consulted prior to the announcement.
Presidential election 2017 will take place on July 17.