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Presidential Election 2017 LIVE: Ram Nath Kovind says the post of president should be above party politics

NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination papers on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most BJP-led NDA chief ministers, besides the heads of some other parties supporting his candidature.

FP Staff June 23, 2017 13:01:32 IST
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Presidential Election 2017 LIVE: Ram Nath Kovind says the post of president should be above party politics

Highlights

11:52 (ist)

Meira Kumar to pick up 'ideological fight' from 30 June in Gujarat

Meira Kumar is likely to launch her campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat after her nomination papers are cleared on Thursday. 

"I feel I should start my election campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. I will start from there," said Kumar briefing media in New Delhi, a day ahead of filing her nomination papers.

Asked why Sabarmati, Kumar said, "Everybody knows the significance of Sabarmati in our country. The 'sant' of Sabarmati (Mahatma Gandhi) played an important role in the freedom movement of our country. That's why I am going there."

18:28 (ist)

Nitish has done a historical mistake, People of Bihar will never forget him: RJD 

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after 17 opposition parties led by Congress announced to pitch Meira Kumar against NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind.

After attending the meeting in Delhi, RJD leader Lalu Prasad said that Nitish had done a historical mistake.

"Nitish had called me and told about his decision. I advised him not to do so but I can't say what happened after that. Now everybody knows what He has done. He himself had pitched for opposition unity and backtracked," Lalu said.

Latest salvo from the RJD is set to widen the cracks within the ruling Mahagathbandhan. Other alliance partner Congress has also denounced Nitish' party JD(U) for going with the BJP.

Back in Patna, RJD MLA Bhai Virendra challenged Nitish Kumar to change his decision to support Kovind having RSS background.

"People of Bihar will never forget Nitish Kumar. Now a daughter of Bihar from Dalit background has been named Presidential candidate. Nitish should have waited and thought about it. He has done a big mistake and will pay price for that," he said.

Not only Bhai Virendra but other RJD leaders have openly ciriticised Nitish Kumar since yesterday when the Bihar CM announced to support Kovind. 

JD(U) did not participate in today's opposition meeting held in Delhi but RJD leader Lalu Yadav was present there. Lalu had made it clear that He would go with what the Congress led opposition will decide.

Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh alleged that Nitish had taken the decision to demean the RJD. He also feared the ruling Mahagathbandhan might not last long in Bihar.

- Alok Kumar, reporting from Patna

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

June 28, 2017 - 14:35 (IST)

Ram Nath Kovind meets Mehbooba Mufti 

June 28, 2017 - 12:31 (IST)

Meira Kumar files nomination even as numbers stack up against her

Even as Meira Kumar's candidature was approved by 17 opposition political parties, the numbers are clearly in favour of Ram Nath Kovind. 

A total of 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs would cast their votes in the presidential election on 17 July. Kovind fielded by the NDA is expected to garner almost 60 percent of votes with the help of support extended by several non-NDA parties such as JD(U), BJD, and both factions of AIADMK. 

June 28, 2017 - 12:15 (IST)

JD(U) asserts Presidential polls one off incident, Opposition unity stands strong

June 28, 2017 - 12:11 (IST)

Meanwhile... Oppn denies cracks over presidential poll candidate

Presidential poll candidate has become a bone of contention between JD(U) and the rest of the opposition parties. While JD(U) declared its support for NDA's Ram Nath Kovind for being Bihar's former governor, Congress fielded Meira Kumar, another Dalit and daughter of prominent leader from the state Jagjivan Ram.

However, Nitish's decision to stand by Kovind has started rumours that the Opposition unity may not be as strong as the Congress would like to portray. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:56 (IST)

She represents the values that binds us as a nation: Rahul Gandhi on Meira Kumar

June 28, 2017 - 11:52 (IST)

Meira Kumar to pick up 'ideological fight' from 30 June in Gujarat

Meira Kumar is likely to launch her campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat after her nomination papers are cleared on Thursday. 

"I feel I should start my election campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. I will start from there," said Kumar briefing media in New Delhi, a day ahead of filing her nomination papers.

Asked why Sabarmati, Kumar said, "Everybody knows the significance of Sabarmati in our country. The 'sant' of Sabarmati (Mahatma Gandhi) played an important role in the freedom movement of our country. That's why I am going there."

June 28, 2017 - 11:45 (IST)

Who is Meira Kumar, Oppn presidential nominee

Meira Kumar entered electoral politics in 1985 when she joined Congress and is a five-time Lok Sabha MP. Kumar, the daughter of prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram, has beaten powerful Dalit leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati to win in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. She is also the first woman to become the Lok Sabha Speaker. Read more about her family background and political career here. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:35 (IST)

Ram Nath Kovind finishes nomination procedures on last day of filing papers

BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu filed fourth set of nomination papers on behalf of Kovind to conclude the nomination formalities for the NDA's presidential pick. The Presidential elections, slated for 17 July, will see a race between Opposition's Meira Kumar and Kovind, who has a decided advantage given to the strength of the ruling party in the House. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:30 (IST)

Opposition leaders, sans JDU, attend Meira Kumar's nomination

In yet another bid to underscore Opposition's unity, leaders from various political parties flanked Kumar as she reached Parliament House to file her nomination papers. From Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to All India Trinamool Congress' Derek O' Brian, prominent leaders from several opposition parties made appearances alongside Kumar. 
 

However, JD(U)'s presence was noticeably missing from the scene, which had pledged support to NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, even before Kumar's candidature was announced. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:23 (IST)

NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination papers on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most BJP-led NDA chief ministers, besides the heads of some other parties supporting his candidature.

Besides the NDA's constituents, which comprise over 48.6 percent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an almost foregone conclusion.

Presidential Election 2017 LIVE Ram Nath Kovind says the post of president should be above party politics

File image of Ram Nath Kovind and Amit Shah. PTI

BJP President Amit Shah will also be present when Kovind files his papers, as will the Telangana and Tamil Nadu chief ministers, two leaders from non-NDA parties supporting Kovind, sources in the southern parties said.

Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 percent of the vote, and the final tally may increase depending on how some still-undecided regional parties vote, BJP source said.

A group of opposition parties had on Thursday announced that former Speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, would be their joint candidate against Kovind.

The election is scheduled for 17 July and the counting of votes will take place on 20 July.

The term of president Pranab Mukherjee ends on 24 July.

Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. The first was KR Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002.

A low profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014.

The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probable but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a "political masterstroke".

He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over the 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.

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