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Biju Janata Dal backs NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind

20 June 2017

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him on Monday morning to inform him that he was the BJP's presidential candidate. Jagan gave this assurance to the BJP chief when the latter called him over the phone this afternoon seeking the YSRC's support for the ruling coalition's nominee. "I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised". Many said that he only has nodding acquaintance with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Soon after deciding the Presidential name, Shah said Modi spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought their support.

Mumbai: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said the party will take a "final decision" on whether to support its alliance partner BJP's pick for President of India, Ram Nath Kovind today.

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He said the Office of the President of India is above political considerations and BJD wants to keep it above politics.

Crucially, the trouble for opposition parties, as well as some of the NDA's own constituents, will be in rejecting the candidature of a Dalit man for the post of President.

However, several leaders are expected to support the BJP candidate. Kovind has also represented India at the United Nations. The decision definitely puts the Congress, which has been making efforts to formulate a larger alliance to counter the popularity of Narendra Modi and the BJP, in a spot. She said that someone of the stature of President Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani ji may have been made the candidate.

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"If they have declared Kovind's name for getting Dalit votes, then we are not interested".

The BJP has lined up its Union ministers and senior leaders of its allies as proposers and seconders for filing the nomination papers of the presidential candidate.

A lawyer by training (he was made advocate on record at the Supreme Court in 1978), Mr. Kovind, 71, had been a two-time member of the Rajya Sabha, held various positions in the BJP both in Uttar Pradesh (as State unit general secretary) and nationally as the party's Scheduled Caste Morcha chief.

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The Opposition had said they would announce their candidates only after the ruling party had picked theirs.