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Congress Says No Scope for Consensus on BJP's President Nominee

Congress Says No Scope for Consensus on BJP's President Nominee

"I am personally glad he is the presidential candidate". He had earlier called on Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu of TDP to seek his support for the NDA's presidential nominee.

As to whether the JD-U will back his candidature, Nitish Kumar said: "It is hard to say at this point of time". Nitish also said that "I had a word with Laluji and Sonia Gandhi and there will be discussion on this".

Prime Minister Modi also stressed on Kovind's background and work for the poor. However, he did not reveal whether he would support the Bihar governor's candidature.

Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to several leaders including Naveen Patnaik over this, IANS reported.

He said Kovind had had a long innings in public life and fought for the cause of Dalits and the poor.

Kovind met the Prime Minister and Shah in New Delhi in the evening after his candidature was announced in the Monday afternoon. The only thing that many conjectured was that the BJP's presidential candidate would be one that both the Congress and the CPI (M) would find hard to reject. So there is no question of mutual consent. We had full hope that before announcing they would discuss some names.

Sources say that being Dalit, Kovind is unlikely to face opposition from other parties.

He said the opposition did not expect this "unilateral" decision by the BJP to name Kovind.

CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said the Opposition parties must put up their candidate against Kovind as he is from the ranks of the RSS. "Somebody of Sushma's (Sushma Swaraj) or Advani's (BJP veteran LK Advani) stature should have been chosen".

"I am not saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President". They are concerned about Dalit votes in country, which accounts for 16.52%.

Modi-Shah kept a number of factors like Kovind's strong Dalit roots, clean image and the Gujarat polls in mind before choosing him for the country's top constitutional post.

Mayawati told ANI that it could have been better if BJP would have selected a name from a non-political background.

Shah said NDA partner Sena had on its own demanded that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat be the candidate though it was well-known that Sangh leaders do not contest polls.

By playing the Dalit card, the BJP has forced the Opposition parties with a Hobson's choice.

Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu insisted that all parties were consulted.

Their candidate's name was only revealed after making the decision. They said that when they decide, they will come back to us with a proposal.

Soon after, Thackeray said, "If you are propping up a Dalit candidate only to get Dalit votes, why should we be interested? Let us take it as a duty".