Presidential Polls: The three reasons why Meira Kumar was chosen

Elias Hubbard
June 23, 2017

The support extended by Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) president Nitish Kumar to Mr. Kovind has been seen as a major snub to the Congress-led Opposition which on Thursday made a decision to field former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar against the NDA's candidate. "There could not be a better candidate than her", he said. The Bihar Chief Minister, according to his aides, phoned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and informed her that he would throw his weight behind the BJP nominee, who is a Dalit, and as Governor of Bihar enjoyed a good understanding with Mr Kumar.

In their big meeting today to be attended by 16 of 17 Opposition parties, it is likely that they will zero in on their prominent Dalit face, Meira Kumar, as their joint candidate to take on the BJP's Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential election.

There was no threat to the coalition government in Bihar, Lalu Yadav said, referring to his party's alliance with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) in the state. Kumar, who continues to "flirt" with his former alliance partner BJP, supported Kovid, citing his association with Bihar.

At a 17-party opposition meeting today, NCP chief Sharad Pawar proposed the names of three people - Kumar, ex-home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and former Planning Commission member Bhalchandra Mungekar.

Kumar, a former diplomat and union minister who has also held the post of Speaker of Lok Sabha, is the daughter of former deputy prime minister and tall Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier said that the Opposition was a divided house over the Presidential elections as many of its partners have extended support to ruling NDA candidate.

While the JD (U) skipped the meeting, the 17-party group remained intact with the RLD, represented by Ajit Singh, stepping in.

The Opposition - Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI), and other parties - chose to meet on Thursday to discuss the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) decision on Presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind. While Derek O' Brien represented the Trinamool, the SP sent Ramgopal Yadav and the BSP Satish Mishra.

Other names in the fray were Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Prakash Ambedkar, but other parties, including the Congress, are believed to have put their weight behind Meira Kumar.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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