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Nitish's decision to back Kovind dampens opposition's efforts for unity against Modi govt

JD(U)'s decision to support Kovind's candidature comes just a day before a crucial meeting of opposition parties wherein they will decide their presidential nominee.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 21, 2017, 11.35 PM IST
Nitish's party will also not attend the opposition parties' meet wherein presidential nominee will be decided.
NEW DELHI: JDU’s decision to back NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president has created a chink in the armour of the opposition parties, which have been trying to cobble up a united front to counter BJP at the national level ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

However, at a regional level, the Bihar’s ruling grand alliance, which comprises RJD, JD(U) and Congress, is likely to remain intact.

In fact, this decision comes a day before a crucial meeting of opposition parties wherein they will decide their presidential nominee. The latest move is likely to erode the anti-Modi image of JDU national president Nitish Kumar, who has been aspiring for a bigger role in national politics.

On Wednesday, Kumar held a meeting with his party MLAs and functionaries in Patna to take a decision on backing Kovind’s candidature. “JD(U) will support NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential polls,” party’s national spokesperson KC Tyagi announced after the meeting.

Tyagi also credited Kovind with maintaining the high tradition of democracy during his tenure as Bihar governor.

Tyagi made it clear that his party will not attend the meeting of the opposition parties. “But, JD (U) and its national president Nitish Kumar will continue to make his efforts for the opposition’s unity.”

Nitish, who emerged as a strong face against BJP after his success in the 2015 assembly polls, had earlier supported the Centre’s demonetisation decision as well.

After the 2015 polls, Kumar had given enough indications of his ambition to emerge as a player in national politics and he had toured different parts of UP before the 2017 assembly polls there.
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