Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Support Kovind; fight against Central negligence will continue: Naveen Patnaik

Modi said Kovind would make an "exceptional" President and called him a strong voice for the poor and the marginalised communities.

He did not provide any details of Kovind's scheduled engagements in New Delhi.

Veteran screenwriter Salim Khan on Tuesday extended his support to NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President's office. If he wins, as is likely, India is likely to hear a good deal from Kovind in the course of official speeches, most notably in Parliament. I had talks with (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad and (Congress President) Sonia Gandhi.

"The opposition will meet on June 22, only after that can we announce our decision", the West Bengal chief minister said.

Asked whether BJD supported the NDA candidate out of any pressure, party spokesman dismissed it and said "We continue to maintain equal distance from both BJP and Congress".

Reacting to the CM's remark, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said the CM had no other option than supporting the NDA candidate. "We will discuss the issue later and decide".

The opposition is against Kovind's name being finalised for the post of president on grounds that they were not consulted prior to the announcement.

An annoyed opposition, including the Left, accused the ruling party of going back on its offer of a consensus candidate and taking the decision on the presidential nominee "unilaterally".

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M struck a different note.

BJP President Amit Shah made the announcement following over two-hour long meeting of the party's parliamentary board, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leaders. One was of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat.

Kovind, who was a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh and a former lawyer, spoke at length on the Bill that sought to reform contempt laws.

During Nitin Gadkari's tenure as BJP chief, Ram Nath Kovind was appointed as the BJP national spokesperson in 2010.

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