Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said that the Opposition parties have fielded “Bihar Ki Beti” Meira Kumar as their presidential nominee only for her to “lose”, ANI reported. This is the first time that the chief minister has spoken after the Janata Dal (United) announced its support for National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind instead of Opposition’s Meira Kumar.
“I have a lot of respect for Meira Kumarji, but has the Bihar ki beti been nominated only to lose?” he asked. “Where were those people in the last two elections? Why did they not care for Bihar Ki Beti then?”
His remarks came after he visited Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to join him for an iftaar party in Patna. Yadav, who has joined the other Opposition parties to back Meira Kumar, on Thursday had urged the Bihar chief minister to reconsider his decision. “There is no question of rethinking our decision. We will go ahead with our decision to support Ram Nath Kovind,” Nitish Kumar said. “This decision has been taken after due consideration and discussion with our party leaders.”
The JD(U) chief also said that in the past, too, the party has taken independent decisions. “We had supported Pranab Mukherjee for president [in 2012] when we were in NDA,” he said, ANI reported. “This is not a political issue, and it should not be made a subject of political confrontation.”
Earlier on Friday, Kovind filed his nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Parliament. Meira Kumar is expected to file her nomination papers on June 27.
The NDA makes up 48.6% of the electoral college that will vote in the presidential election on July 17, after current President Pranab Mukherjee finishes his term on July 24. With support from regional parties, such as Janata Dal(United), Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK(Amma), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, it appears that Kovind now has the support of 60% of the electoral college.