Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday assured NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind of its support in the forthcoming election to Rashtrapati Bhawan. The assurance of support was given to Kovind during a joint meeting with the MLAs of the PDP, the BJP and the Peoples Conference — coalition partners in the state government — held at the residence of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, a senior PDP leader said.
State Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said the meeting with Kovind was called to garner support. “It is a traditional practice that the designate or the nominee actually starts canvassing for the support. So the coalition partners, the BJP, the PDP, all legislative members and MPs had come. He sought support.
“He spoke about at how he stands for inclusive India which is above politics and how diversity is the real ethos of India and how that will become a very important in his dealing with it,” Drabu said. He said a broad direction from the party leadership is that “we must all vote and ensure that he wins. His victory almost seems decided.”
Kovind, accompanied by Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, arrived earlier in the day to drum up support for his campaign. “We had a very fruitful meeting with the chief minister and her party colleagues, MLAs and MPs. Then she introduced the candidate also. We met each one of them. They were all very happy,” Naidu told reporters after the meeting.
He said while the NDA was united, the opposition is divided on the presidential election. “We are united, we in the NDA are united. The opposition is divided. We are going forward, they are looking backward,” he said. The PDP-BJP coalition enjoys support of 58 MLAs and seven MPs from the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly has 89 members — 87 elected and two nominated — who are eligible to vote in the polls to be held on July 17 for electing the 14th president of the country. The state also has 10 MPs — six in Lok Sabha and four in Rajya Sabha.
While one MP each belongs to opposition Congress and the National Conference, the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat is vacant as by-polls to it were cancelled in May this year following large scale violent protests in south Kashmir.