Presidential elections: UPA's Meira Kumar to fight NDA's Ram Nath Kovind
UPA has nominated Meira Kumar as their presidential candidate Photograph: (DNA)
The United Progressive Alliance(UPA) led by Congress has picked former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to take on BJP's Ram Nath Kovind for presidential elections due to be held next month.
The BJP had named UP-born Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, as their candidate for India's highest political office, the UPA in a bid to counter the "Dalit factor" has named Meira Kumar as their candidate.
Soon after Meira Kumar's candidature for presidential polls was announced, BSP chief Mayawati quickly extended her party's support to the Congress leader, saying she was "more capable and popular" than Kovind.
"The Opposition's nominee for President Meira Kumar is more capable and popular than the NDA candidate. The BSP will support Meira Kumar in the presidential election," she said.
Earlier, Mayawati had said Kovind, although a Dalit, had 'RSS credentials'. The BSP chief had reiterated her preference for a person with a "non-political background".
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's party JD(U), a key factor in the numbers game, had hinted they might support NDA's Ram Nath Kovind, however, his ally RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is not keen on supporting the NDA candidate. JD(U) remained steadfast in its support to Kovind today even after Sonia Gandhi announced Meira Kumar's name for president.
"Our decision to support Kovind remains unchanged. It was a decision taken on merit after due application of mind and full consultation within the party... We will stick with his choice," JD(U) spokesperson Pavan Kumar Varma said.
The Shiv Sena, a key constituent of the BJP-led coalition, on Tuesday said it would back the BJP's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, saying he is a "simple and decent human being."
The presidential polls are due to take place on July 17.