The Janata Dal (United) on Thursday said it will stick to its decision to support the National Democratic Alliance’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, even as Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav urged the party to reconsider.
Earlier on Thursday, the Opposition parties together nominated former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their presidential candidate.
On Wednesday, the JD(U) had extended its support for Kovind. “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 on Thursday, according to PTI.
Varma was confident that Kovind would win the polls as the numbers were stacked in favour of the NDA. He said Kovind’s contest with Meira Kumar will only be “a token exercise”. JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said, “We can’t change our decision every other second.” Earlier in the day, Tyagi had heaped praises on Kovind. “He has always performed his constitutional duties wonderfully,” the JD(U) leader had said of Kovind, according to Outlook. “And as a governor, he has conducted himself very well and executed his duties with finesse.”
Earlier in the day, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has supported Meira Kumar, said he would speak to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar about changing his mind. “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.
The presidential election will be held on July 17. Current President Pranab Mukherjee finishes his term on July 24.
Meira 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 Meira Kumar to make the presidential election a fight between two Dalit faces.