Sena announces support to Kovind

Oppn likely to field own consensus candidate: Left
Report by: 
20 Jun 2017

After initial flip flops, BJP's oldest ally Shiv Sena today said that it will support NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election.

The announcement in this regard was made by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. "We fully support Kovind. He has a nice personality. He has done a lot of good work," Thackeray said. The Shiv Sena had earlier refrained from spelling out its stand on supporting Kovind for president.
Thackeray had said that his party will not back Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes. "If the name of Kovind is being put forward with a view to garner Dalit votes then the Sena is not interested. Sena has never indulged in the politics of hiding behind someone. We shall decide on whether or not to support the candidature of Kovind tomorrow (Tuesday)," Thackeray had said.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had announced Kovind's name as its Presidential candidate on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in a tweet, mentioned that Kovind will make for an "exceptional President". The numbers now seem to be in favour of Kovind, the NDA nominee for the post of the President of India.
With the BJD, a faction of the AIADMK, the YSR Congress and the TRS extending support, the prospects of sending Kovind to the Rashtrapati Bhavan have brightened. The total strength of the electoral college which votes to elect the President comprises all elected MPs and members of legislative assemblies of all states and UTs of Delhi and Puducherry.

The total comes to 10,98,903 votes with each MP carrying a vote value of 708. The vote weight of an MLA depends on the population of the state he or she represents. A candidate needs 50 per cent plus votes to win the poll. Halfway mark comes at 5,49,452. The NDA, led by the BJP, has 5,37,683 votes and this is including the Shiv Sena. If at all, the Sena decides to vote against the NDA nominee, then the NDA's voteshare minus the Shiv Sena would be around 5,11,790 votes. With the BJD, a faction of the AIADMK, the TRS and the YSRC firmly behind the BJP, its vote share would come to nearly 8,83,578 -- much more than the 50 per cent plus mark.

Meanwhile, sources in Left parties today said that Opposition parties are likely to field their own consensus candidate against NDA's nominee Ram Nath Kovind for the July 17 Presidential polls. Leaders of the non-NDA parties, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, will meet on June 22 to discuss the matter, they added. According to the sources, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, ex-Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, CPI national secretary D Raja, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader and grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, Prakash, and retired diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi are some of the probable contenders whose names the Opposition parties are considering.

Sources in the CPI said Raja's name has been proposed by "some individuals and not any non-NDA parties". The Left party will discuss the issue wihin itself before Opposition leaders meet on June 22, the sources added.
They also claimed that the BJP fielding Kovind has "not hurt" the unity among the 17 opposition parties. "These are very crucial polls and we will have to ensure we protect the Constitution. There will be a contest," a source said.