Opposition parties on Thursday announced that former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was their pick for the next president, NDTV reported. The announcement came after the Congress and Left had denied that Kumar was in the running for the post.

Earlier this week, the Bharatiya Janata Party had chosen former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind to be their candidate for the post. Other parties like the Janata Dal (United) and Shiv Sena had backed Kovind, leading to much speculation about whom the Opposition would nominate.

Kumar, a five time MP, was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009. She is the daughter of Dalit leader and former Deputy Prime Minister late Jagjivan Ram. According to political experts, the Opposition chose Kumar to make the presidential election a fight between two Dalit faces.

The Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad said 17 political parties had unanimously picked Kumar to be their candidate. The others being considered were Sushil Kumar Shinde and Balchand Myngekar, Hindustan Times reported.

Although the JD(U) has extended its support to Kovind, the Opposition’s choice is likely to put Nitish Kumar in a fix, according to Hindustan Times. Speaking in favour of Kovind, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi had highlighted his Bihar connection. Kovind hails from Uttar Pradesh, while Kumar is from Bihar.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has supported Kumar, asked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to rethink his decision to back Kovind. “I will meet him [Nitish Kumar] tomorrow and will ask him to think about his decision. He should not commit a historical mistake,” Yadav said, according to ANI. However, the RJD chief said that Kumar’s decision will not affect their alliance in Bihar.

The presidential election will be held on July 17. Current President Pranab Mukherjee finishes his term on July 24.