Responding to the nomination of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential candidate of the ruling NDA, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that the party will not support anyone if they try to use a person’s caste to garner votes. “If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them,” Thackeray said while addressing party workers on the Shiv Sena’s 51st foundation day. “But if it is for the development of the nation then we may support,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena, an NDA partner, said Ram Nath Kovind’s name was not discussed with the allies.
“The name of Ram Nath Kovind was not suggested earlier. We found out the name when it was announced at the press conference,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told NDTV. He further questioned the need to hold meeting with allies if BJP did not wish to discuss the name with them. “Why was the name not discussed with the allies?” Raut was quoted by NDTV as saying.
In a surprising move, the BJP on Monday proposed the name of Kovind as the NDA candidate for the upcoming Presidential election. Seventy-one-year-old Kovind is a Dalit leader from Kanpur. He was elected twice to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. Kovind was previously BJP spokesperson. He has also practised as a Supreme Court lawyer.