Bhubaneswar: The CPI on Friday urged BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar to reconsider their decision and support opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the 17 July presidential election.
"We appeal to the chief ministers of Odisha and Bihar to reconsider their decision and support a secular candidate like Meira Kumar. Above all, both BJD and JD(U) are not part of the BJP-led NDA," CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told reporters in Odisha.
Reddy, accompanied by CPI national secretary K Narayanana, said they hope both Patnaik and Kumar will rethink before casting their vote in favour of Ram Nath Kovind, whom they described as a "Sangha Parivar member".
"We do not know the reasons behind both Patnaik and Kumar supporting the NDA candidate," he said adding, the CPI will contact the BJD and the JD(U) before the presidential poll.
A secular person should become the president against the backdrop of attacks on Dalits and minorities since the NDA government assumed office at the Centre. The opposition has fielded Kumar considering her background.
"She (Meira Kumar) has been the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, has knowledge of matters related to external affairs and above all she is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram," Reddy pointed out.
He said the BJP's three-member committee had asked the CPI about its suggestion for a presidential candidate.
"We had suggested the name of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and they (BJP) said about meeting again. But they announced the name of Ram Nath Kovind without consulting us," Reddy said criticising the BJP for not going for a consensus candidate for the top post.
Asked why Gandhi was not made a candidate by the opposition for the presidential election, the CPI leader said "We had just suggested the name of Gandhi. Had the BJP agreed to it, we would have supported him."
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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2017 19:35:43 IST