BJP’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind gets more support but Oppn gears up for a fight

BJP’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind arrives at Bihar Niwas in New Delhi on Tuesday.

NEW DELHI: The ruling NDA’s presidential candidate, Ram Nath Kovind, looked headed for a comfortable victory on Tuesday with divisions widening in the opposition camp even as it braced for a contest for the July 17 polls.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad indicated on Tuesday the grand old party was not inclined to support a “hardcore BJP leader” as the presidential candidate and would continue to work on building a consensus on an opposition nominee.

The Left parties including the CPI(M) and the CPI share the Congress’ stance, but more chinks surfaced in the opposition camp.

Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav joined Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and BSP supremo Mayawati in endorsing Kovind’s candidature.

“The BJP has given a good candidate. I have a very old relation with him,” the SP patriarch told ANI.

While the victory of the NDA nominee seems to be almost certain, the presidential election has become a test case for the opposition’s unity, the centrifugal idea behind efforts to field an opposition candidate. If opposition parties end up splintered, it would be a setback to the idea of non-BJP alliance referred to as mahagathbandhan, a term that gained currency after a successful experiment in the 2015 Bihar assembly elections.

Kovind, who resigned as Bihar Governor on Tuesday, is likely to file his nomination papers on June 23, before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for abroad.

Kovind will later go on a countrywide tour to seek support from members of Parliament and state legislatures who form the electoral college that votes in the presidential polls. He was given NSG cover on Tuesday.

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Source: Hindustan Times

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