The Opposition is likely to field a candidate for the presidential election, news channel NDTV reported on Tuesday. CPI leader D Raja confirmed to the channel that deliberations were underway to decide on a consensus candidate.
“It is a question of India and its future. The president is the custodian of the constitution, chief of the armed forces and head of the Indian state…The contest of the president’s poll has become a battle of ideologies,” NDTV quoted him as saying. The Left is reportedly open to the idea of supporting Meira Kumar or Sushil Kumar Shinde in the election. It, however, maintained that it is waiting for the Congress to decide on a name.
The Opposition parties will be meeting on June 22 at around 4.30 pm to discuss the future course of action, after the NDA picked former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as their candidate. On Monday, BJP national president Amit Shah announced that the 71-year-old Dalit leader will be nominated to the country’s top post. The announcement was met with surprise as Kovind is a low-key politician who served as the government counsel in the past. The Congress accused the BJP of “unilaterally” selecting Kovind without taking the Opposition into confidence.
Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed the alliance’s decision to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and several others over phone. Meanwhile, The Telangana Rashtra Samithi become the first non-NDA party to back Kovind’s candidature. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BSP Supremo stopped short of supporting the NDA pick but did not oppose it either.