Haryana’s main opposition party, the INLD, has decided to support NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 election. The decision was announced after Kovind met INLD MLAs at a hotel in Panchkula as part of his campaign. The INLD, at a meeting held here four days ago, had kept the decision on supporting Kovind or opposition candidate Meira Kuma on hold, leaving the final call on party supremo Om Prakash Chautala, who is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail in connection with teachers recruitment case. INLD has 19 MLAs in the 90-member Assembly and two MPs in Lok Sabha from Haryana.
Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly, Abhay Singh Chautala, said that Kovind being a Dalit was not the only reason behind the party’s support.
“We had read statement of Kovind in which he had announced to snap all ties from the political parties after announcement of his candidature for the presidential election. Our all MLAs had expressed happiness about his statement,” added Chautala.
He disclosed that Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu had recently sought support from INLD patriarch Om Prakash Chautala. His father O P Chautala, he added, had extended best wishes to Naidu as “Devi Lal wanted to see a Dalit as President of the Country”. It was on Wednesday, revealed Abhay Singh, that the INLD chief decided to support Kovind.
Addressing INLD legislators, Kovind said, “NDA and its allied parties have supported me. Apart from these parties, I have been told that as many as 28-29 political parties have supported me. Today, INLD has also been included in those parties.”
Praising former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, Kovind said: “We have got good legacy from him, the legacy of Haryana’s development.”
He assured INLD that his conduct would be impartial to all. “The Constitution is supreme in today’s democracy and the President has responsibility to maintain its supremacy,” Kovid added.
In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, the ruling BJP enjoys a majority with 47 MLAs and the support of five Independents and lone BSP MLA. The Congress has 17 MLAs.
Among the Lok Sabha MPs in Haryana, the ruling BJP has seven members, INLD two and Congress has one. The BJP has only one member among the five Rajya Sabha MPs from the state. Media-baron Subhash Chandra was last year elected with the BJP’s support.