Not ideology but merit key issue in prez candidature: Naidu

4 Jul 2017

Alleging that Opposition parties were trying to "politicise" the presidential election by describing it as a "fight of ideologies", Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said there was no place for ideologies in functioning of the president.
"They are trying to politicise this (presidential) election. Politics is in elections. (They say) this is an ideological election. (This is) not an ideological election. President does not have political decision-making powers," he said. "(They say) fight of ideology. The only ideology president can have is commitment to the Constitution of India. That is the only ideology. Other ideologies have no place," he said. The main issue in the election to the office of the president was the suitability of the candidate and his track record, Naidu said. "But my friends from the other side, I don't want to name the parties, they are trying to divert the attention, saying 'commitment to democracy'. Commitment to democracy. Who is talking about it; who imposed Emergency, put all of us in jails? They are talking about democracy," he said. Asserting that the president could only give advice to the government, he alleged that the opposition was talking about issues like social security and economic disparities which do not immediately concern the presidential election. It would have been good had the Congress not fielded its candidate as the NDA consulted and sought suggestions of the Congress, the Left and other opposition parties before finalising the name of Kovind, he said. "It would have been good if the Congress had not put up a candidate. In democracy, everybody has got a right to contest an election. I am not questioning that," he said. Kovind rose from humble origins and became a lawyer in Supreme Court. He had also worked as the head of the BJP's SC Morcha, and also served as Bihar Governor, he said. Naidu was speaking at a reception organised by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in honour of NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind here. During a whirl-wind visit to Hyderabad, Kovind interacted with the Telangana legislators of the TRS, the BJP, the TDP and also the YSR Congress (Opposition in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh). The NDA nominee has received support even from non-NDA parties like Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and the BJD, the YSR Congress and the TRS and he is sure to win, Naidu said, thanking Rao for supporting Kovind's candidature.(PTI)