BJP picks Ram Nath Kovind as presidential nominee; Opposition call meet on June 22

New Delhi: The Opposition would announce its decision on whether to support NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind as president only on June 22, it said on Monday, hours after the government announced its candidate.

“We will meet on 22nd June, and only then we can announce our decision,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Though she did not directly oppose his nomination, she however said, Kovind was made a candidate because he was once a leader of BJP’s Dalit Morcha.

Ex-UP CM and Dalit leader Mayawati said that her party is not averse to his nomination, “but only if the opposition does not announce another Dalit name”.

“As he is a Dalit we are positive on his name,” she said, adding “We are also of the opinion that it would have been better if NDA had named some non-political Dalit person as President nominee.”

Kovind, who is currently the governor of Bihar, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi here later today.

Lauding the NDA nominee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “He (Ram Nath Kovind) has done exemplary work (as governor of Bihar), worked with impartiality, maintained an ideal relationship with the state government.”

He, however, did not divulge whether his party would support the NDA nominee for president.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Under his leadership, India will prosper and the oppressed will get justice.”

Meanwhile, celebrations began outside the BJP office in Lucknow after Kovind was declared NDA presidential candidate.