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Kovind will make an 'exceptional President': Modi

Kovind will make an 'exceptional President': Modi

Samajwadi Party, BSP, and JDU have also hinted that they may support Mr. Ram Nath Kovind for President.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for the US on Friday and it is believed that all the formalities will be completed before then. Apart from BJP leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed happiness over the decision.

"If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the objective of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them", Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said.

Non-NDA parties like BJD, TRS and YSRCP have announced their support to the Dalit leader. So there is no question of mutual consent.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said his party would take a call after a meeting of Opposition parties on Thursday.

Leaders in the Opposition will attend a meeting on June 22, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, to take a final decision on the President's election.

Thackeray said the Sena had recommended and supported Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's name because "Hindustan is a Hindu nation" and there was nobody better than Bhagwat to represent this identity. "I am hopeful that there will be a consensus on his name", BJP president Amit Shah said at a press conference here.

"They (BJP) took a decision unilaterally, but it is up to them. Somebody of Sushma's (Sushma Swaraj) or Advani's (BJP veteran LK Advani) stature should have been chosen".

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Earlier in the day, O'Brien took a dig at BJP by tweeting that he had to log on to Wikipedia and enquire about nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Not much is known about Kovind, except that he is a Dalit leader and a former Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, elected by the BJP between 1994-2000 and 2000-2006.

Insiders said the PM announced in the meeting that his Cabinet ministers were too important for him to let go of them and hence they could not be spared to become President.

"Speaking to the media, Mayawati seemed not impressed by BJP" candidate. Yet, Kovind's candidature has been lauded by the RSS with the outfit's spokesman Prof Rakesh Sinha describing him as "a flawless person" and "a man with a clear vision". So somewhere it is a political fight or contest.

Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu insisted that all parties were consulted. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then.

BJP's ally and NDA constituent Shiv Sena, which has been at loggerheads with the BJP in Maharashtra, said that the party will decide on the issue in a few days.

"It was their (NDA's) proposal that they will get back to the opposition after zeroing on a candidate".

Incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24. The nomination papers will, in all likelihood, be filed on June 23.

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