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Presidential elections: JD (U) to support Ram Nath Kovind, won’t attend opposition meeting

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), on Wednesday announced its support for Ram Nath Kovind, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee for the presidential elections, in a serious blow to opposition parties’ attempts to put up a united candidate against him.

JD (U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi also said that the party will not attend the meeting of opposition parties on Thursday, saying the meeting is now “irrelevant” for his party after its support for Kovind, a low-profile Dalit leader whose nomination by the BJP has drawn support from several non-NDA parties.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is also JD (U) president, had praised Kovind’s tenure as the governor of Bihar on Monday hours after BJP chief Amit Shah named his as the ruling bloc’s presidential pick.

Tyagi, however, insisted that the JD (U)’s support to the BJP on the presidential election is an “isolated incident” and it will remain part of the opposition’s efforts for unity against the saffron party in future.

“This isolated incident will have no bearing on our efforts for the larger opposition unity,” he told PTI.

ALSO READ: How BJP swung the odds its way by choosing Ram Nath Kovind

Kumar’s support to Kovind is, however, set to seed doubts in parties like the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), both of which are his allies in the Bihar government, about his future political course. Earlier too, he had supported the government’s decisions like demonetisation, which had invited flak from its allies.

Former JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav had so far been a leading opposition voice for a unity against the BJP over the presidential elections. He had been attending meetings of opposition parties.

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