Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind

Shiv Sena is likely to offer support to the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

"In my capacity as the Bihar Chief Minister, it is a matter of happiness that our governor has been declared as the candidate for the next president of India", he told reporters in Patna after paying a courtesy call to Kovind at the Raj Bhawan. "Just because he (Kovind) was a leader of the BJP's Dalit Morcha, they have nominated him", she said and added that in order to support someone, "we must know the person". AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said the non-NDA parties will discuss the issue before taking any step.

The Congress today spurned the BJP's appeal for consensus on its choice for president and said the opposition would take a call on contesting the election after a meeting on June 22.

Raut reiterated that the Shiv Sena was keen on the candidature of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat or eminent agro-scientist M.S. Swaminathan for the President's post.

In 2012, Mukherjee personally called up and later met Thackeray soliciting his support, which the Sena chief offered, going against the BJP-supported NDA candidate, P.A. Sangma. "I hope all will agree to the name", he said at a press conference.

Kovind, 71, born in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, belongs to Koli community, a Dalit sub-caste.

Nitish Kumar expressed his happiness that the Bihar Governor would be the NDA's candidate for the President elections.

The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 24.

"But they informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now. we were not expecting this from the ruling party".

Asked whether BJD supported the NDA candidate out of any pressure, party spokesman dismissed it and said "We continue to maintain equal distance from both BJP and Congress". Thackeray told Shah on Sunday that the Sena will take a decision after the BJP announces the candidate.

Banerjee said senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani or Sushma Swaraj could have been made candidates.

He was named Governor of Bihar by the centre three years ago.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said non-NDA parties would take a decision "keeping in mind the country's history that the ruling and Opposition parties contested the polls on all occasion except once".

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