Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (Photo: PTI)
The Congress on Thursday expressed hope that Janata Dal (United) will extend support to the opposition’s presidential nominee. JD (U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday chaired a meeting of party leaders in Patna that decided to support the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President’s post. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge termed Nitish’s support to Kovind ‘his personal decision’ and said JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav in the all-party meeting had come up with the view of deciding on the presidential candidate once the Government declares its nominee.
“It might be Nitish Kumar’s personal decision. Earlier, when the all-party meeting took place, Sharad Yadav had suggested that we should not decide on the candidate so soon and should wait for the Government to come up with its candidate. All the parties’ leaders will come today and what steps are to be taken will be decided. Suggestions from all the parties will be heard and then a decision would be taken,” Kharge told ANI.
However, another Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad refrained from commenting on the same and said that any discussion on the same would take place post the Opposition’s meet. “Let the Opposition party meet take place and then the decision will be taken,” Ahmad told ANI. On Wednesday, senior JD (U) leader Ratnesh Sada said, “All the leaders have decided that we will support Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president. He is Bihar’s first Governor who has been nominated for this post. We are very happy with this, it is a matter of Bihar’s development.”
The opposition will meet today to decide on whether to support Kovind’s candidature, or put up a contestant for the July 17 election. JD (U) has been a part of the opposition’s joint initiative on the presidential elections. 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. The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17. President Pranab Mukherjee will demit office on July 24.