A day after opposition parties' presidential nominee Meira Kumar visited Hyderabad, NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind today arrived in the city to bolster his support for the July17 elections. During his stay here, Kovind will be meeting NDA MPs and MLAs of both the Telugu states -- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Leaders of the BJP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) accorded him a warm welcome at the Begumpet Airport. Central Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP's Telangana unit chief K Laxman, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mehmood Ali, Ministers N Narasimha Reddy and Harish Rao were among the leaders who welcomed Kovind.
He later left for Haritha Plaza hotel to meet the BJP's members of Parliament and state legislators. This would be followed by a meeting with leaders of YSRCP, the opposition party of Andhra Pradesh which has already declared its support to him. YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy and party MPs and MLAs will interact with him.
Kovind would then have a meeting with leaders of Telangana's ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which too, has announced its support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee. TRS President and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, party MPs and MLAs will also meet the former Bihar Governor.
The TRS erected huge hoardings at busy intersections in the city to welcome him. The hoardings carry pictures of Kovind and Chandrasekhar Rao.
After meeting with TRS legislators, Kovind would then leave for Vijayawada where he would meet TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders.
Kovind (71), a low profile Dalit leader from Kanpur Dehat, is seen as an astute choice by the NDA, which has been targeted by opposition parties over Dalit issues, and his election is almost a certainty as the ruling coalition with the support of some regional parties enjoys a majority in the electoral college.
The presidential elections will be held on July 17. Results will be declared on July 20. The tenure of incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.