Mayawati-led BSP on Monday became the first opposition party to extend support to Ram Nath Kovind, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Presidential Election 2017. Mayawati said that her party can’t oppose a candidate who hails from Dalit community. Mayawati’s party, whose tally was reduced to mere 19 MLAs in recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, has six seats in Rajya Sabha. The BSP supremo is herself an Upper House MP. “As he is a Dalit we are positive on his name, but only if oppn doesn’t announce a popular dalit name,” Mayawati said. As Mayawati turned out to be first leader to support BJP move, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar praised the decision but remained mum over extending support. “He has done exemplary work (as Guv of Bihar), worked with impartiality, maintained an ideal relationship with the state govt,” Nitish Kumar said. “Matter of happiness for me personally. As far as support is concerned, can’t say anything right now. it is too early to say,” Kumar added.
Earlier, Kovind, incumbent Governor of Bihar, and a low-key Bharatiya Janata Party leader, was declared as NDA’s nominee for Presidential Elections 2017. Speaking on party’s decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Kovind will make an exceptional President. “I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised,” Modi said. “With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Shri Kovind’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation,” Prime Minister added.
“Shri Ram Nath Kovind, a farmer’s son, comes from a humble background. He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor & marginalised,” Modi said. BJP President Amit Shah also took to twitter to congratulate Kovind. “Congratulations to Shri Ramnath Kovind ji on being announced as the Presidential candidate of NDA,” Shah Tweeted. “I believe that all political parties will come forward and support NDA’s candidate for the President’s office,” Shah added. Meanwhile, opposition Congress, TMC, and Communist Party of India have expressed their displeasure over the choice. The parties opposing the move have said that BJP took a unilateral decision.