The opposition zeroed in on former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar for three good reasons — her caste, her state and her party. Worried about cracks in the opposition over the NDA’s nominee, Ram Nath Kovind, the opposition selected Congress’s Kumar in a bid to woo back the JD(U) and ensure that the BSP did not break away. The JD(U) yesterday said it would back Kovind, while the BSP had said it would not take a “negative” stand towards the candidature of a dalit after the NDA announced their candidate was a dalit from UP earlier this week.
The BSP today supported the Opposition’s candidate, stressing that Meira Kumar was “more capable and popular” than Kovind. At a 17-party opposition meeting today, NCP chief Sharad Pawar proposed the names of three people — Kumar, ex-home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and former Planning Commission member Bhalchandra Mungekar. “It was RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav who pitched for Kumar. Two things went in her favour. One that she belongs to the Congress and was selected by its chief Sonia Gandhi,” sources in a Left party said.
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Second, the fact that she was “the daughter of Bihar” would “impel Nitish Kumar to re-think his decision to support Kovind who comes from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh”, the sources said. Third, of course, she was a dalit, with an impressive political background. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yadav appealed to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to change his mind on the issue, and said he would discuss this with the CM in Patna. “I will meet Nitish Kumar and will urge him to change his decision to support the NDA candidate. I will tell him not to commit a historic blunder. I will ask him to think again,” Yadav said.