NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind today met BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who were seen as contenders for the candidature. He is scheduled to meet ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tomorrow.
BJP sources said that Kovind (71) paid courtesy visit to the two leaders credited with playing a key role in the saffron party's growth. He met Advani (89) in the evening and visited 83-year-old Joshi's residence earlier in the day.
There was talk about Advani and Joshi being considered by the BJP as its pick for the president's post. While announcing Kovind's name, BJP chief Amit Shah had said the party had gone through a list of names before zeroing in on him. He had, however, declined to name other probables.
Meanwhile, the opposition today suffered a big blow with JD-U deciding to back Kovind in the President's election boosting the numbers for the ruling side while the rivals made it clear that they will put up a candidate. The setback for the opposition came at a meeting of JD-U legislators and MPs in which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and several MLAs expressed their opinion that the NDA candidate and his credentials are good given that he hails from a Dalit community and has a humble background. With possible support of JD-U, the vote share of NDA in the electoral college go up to almost 63 per cent.