Karnataka Congress leader CK Jaffer Sharief has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat for the president’s post, reported PTI. He said there was no doubt about his “patriotism and commitment to the Constitution”.

He also said members of the minority communities should not have “any fear or crisis of confidence” if Bhagwat was made the president. Pranab Mukherjee’s term as the president of the country will end on July 25, 2017.

“Whoever becomes the President will have to function according to the Constitution. What is wrong if Bhagwat becomes the President and works according to the Constitution,” Sharief wrote. “Bhagwat may belong to one school of thought but there should not be any doubt about his patriotism, love for the people of India, loyalty to the nation and commitment to the Constitution of India and to democracy.”

He also pointed out that the RSS had supported former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the Bangladesh war. He said the political parties should open their minds and refrain from opposing Bhagwat’s candidature for the post. “Why anyone should now become small and narrow minded to say that we have no faith and confidence in an Indian, who is a patriot and who is wedded to democracy and also working for the welfare of the people,” he said. Sharief also supported Modi’s proposal to hold simultaneous elections.

Bhagwat’s name for the post was first suggested by the Shiv Sena, but the Congress had opposed it. The Opposition party had said that they would come out with their own candidate after thorough discussions. Bhagwat has said that he was not a contender in the presidential race.