INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
After recommending and getting consensus for former Lok Sabha’s Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed to the other parties to support the decision.
“We have 17 opposition leaders present here and all of us have decided to jointly field Meira Kumar as a candidate for the forthcoming election for the President of India,” she said.
BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY
The BJP said the Congress has made Kumar a “scapegoat” by fielding her and questioned why the party did not nominate her when it was in a position to get her elected to the highest office.
“They (opposition) disappointed nation. Result is known, still they have decided to contest election, it’s their choice,” Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu was quoted as saying by ANI.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)
“From among Meira Kumar, Bhalchandra Mungekar, Prakash Ambedkar and Sushilkumar Shinde, everyone agreed on Meira Kumar’s name without any reservation whatsoever,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said while appealing everybody to support her.
“The Opposition has brought a good candidate. Her stature is more profound. She has held many important portfolios. She is well known. Opposition’s candidate is a better candidate than NDA’s nominee,” Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said.
BAHUJAN SAMAJ PARTY
Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party is also cheered for opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar today. Mayawati termed her better candidate than NDA’s nominee for the President’s post.
“Our supremo had said that if the Opposition nominates a better Dalit leader, then we will support it. We have extended our support to the Opposition,” BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra said.
RASHTRIYA JANATA DAL and JANATA DAL UNITED
Though RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has extended support for the opposition’s candidate but its ally JD(U) has decided to back NDA’s candidate for the top post.
Soon after the all opposition meeting, Prasad said that he would meet Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and “appeal to him again to rethink” his party’s decision to support the NDA nominee, which he called a “historic blunder”.
But Prasad’s hopes of any u-turn by Nitish Kumar were quickly dashed with the JD(U) rejecting his request to reconsider its support to Kovind, saying its stand is based on merit and it will stick with Kovind.
“Our decision to support Kovind remains unchanged. It was a decision taken on merit after due application of mind and full consultation within the party… We will stick with his choice,” JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Kumar Varma said.
TOTAL SUPPORT FOR NDA’s KOVIND
The NDA, including Shiv Sena and the Peoples Democratic Party of Jammu and Kashmir, which has extended support to Kovind, commands the support of 48.93 per cent in the electoral college made up of MPs and MLAs. With the backing of non-NDA parties like TRS (2 per cent), AIADMK (5.39 per cent), YSR Congress (1.53 per cent) and BJD (2.99 per cent), the NDA’s support will cross the half-way mark comfortably to reach nearly 63 per cent, with JD-U contributing 1.91 per cent.
INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS