Presidential poll: JD(U) formally backs BJP nominee Ram Nath Kovind

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OPS has the support of 12 MLAs and 12 MPs after he revolted against AIADMK (Amma) general secretary V K Sasikala Panneerselvam said his faction had chose to endorse the NDA nominee since he had a vast experience as a two-time MP and later as governor of Bihar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought support from Palaniswami with the Chief Minister having consultations yesterday with senior colleagues before deciding to support the NDA's nominee, Raju said.

BJP chief Amit Shah had announced Kovind's name as NDA's choice for Presidential candidate on Monday.

BJP's charge comes ahead of the Opposition parties' meeting on Thursday evening to chalk out the strategy for the July 17 Presidential elections, which will be held in the backdrop of its partner Janata Dal (United) extending support to Kovind.

JD-U leader Sharad Yadav was also a member of the sub-committee formed by opposition parties to decide the presidential candidate. "I told Nitish Kumar it would be hard to support the NDA nominee".

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

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Non- NDA party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi has backed Kovind for President.

Soon after the BJP had announced Kovind's candidature on Monday, Nitish Kumar had good words to say about the former Bihar Governor on whom, he also made a courtesy call.

Another non-NDA party, Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSR Congress Party has given thumbs-up to Kovind.

With the backing of parties outside the alliance like TRS (2 per cent), AIADMK (5.39 per cent), YSR Congress (1.53 per cent) and BJD (2.99 per cent), the NDA's support would cross the half-way-mark comfortably to reach almost 63 per cent in the July 17 contest, with JD-U contributing 1.91 per cent.

Sources said Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu spoke to NDA chief ministers and urged them to be present at the time of the filing of nomination by Kovind.

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