Kovind's name chosen with an eye on Dalit votes, says Uddhav Thackeray

Posted June 26, 2017

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday welcomed Shiv Sena for its support to National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

The Prime Minister said that Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.

A day after the much-talked-about meeting between Amit Shah and Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena on Monday lashed out at the BJP over the emerging situation in Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal. If at all, the Sena decides to vote against the NDA nominee, then the NDA's voteshare minus the Shiv Sena would be around 5,11,790 votes.

Sena had earlier rooted for the candidature of Bhagwat on Hindutva line and later proposed the name of Swaminathan for the top post. The Shiv Sena also enjoys support in a significant section of Hindu Dalits in Maharashtra.

Meira Kumar and Shinde have been suggested to counter the NDA so that parties like the BSP will not feel conflicted voting against an NDA Dalit candidate.

Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has convened a meeting of senior party leaders including ministers, legislators and MPs to discuss Kovind's candidature. "We will give our final decision on the NDA nominee tomorrow", Mr Thackeray said.

BSP chief Mayawati said she is not satisfied with Ram Nath Kovind's political ideology, but can not reject his Dalit background.

The CPI (M) said the way Kovind's name was announced it portends that there would be a political contest.

"If we look at the overall condition right now, there is an NDA government and we are its constituent".

"If we suggest a name of the candidate then they (opposition) will think that the name has already been finalised". The Sena didn't vote with the NDA in the last two presidential polls.

Ram Nath Kovind has resigned from the gubernatorial post.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today flew to Patna to consult Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD-U, which reportedly is said to be not averse to backing Kovind.

Voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20, four days before the term of current President Pranab Mukherjee ends.