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Mayawati's slight opposition due to Kovind's association with RSS: NCP

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Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, NDA's presidential candidate, greets the media as he leaves for Delhi, at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday.

To ensure agreement over his candidature, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked on the phone with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and previous prime minister Manmohan Singh to impart BJP's decision to them.

The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 24.

Patil defeated NDA candidate and Vice President B.S. Shekhawat. The Sena chief agreed, contradicting the BJP, which supported NDA candidate P.A. Sangma. But if the Shiv Sena, which has frayed ties with the BJP and has a significant number of MPs in both Houses, intends to go the other way, the numbers game could be crucial for the BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah sprang a big surprise, again, by announcing Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as NDA nominee for president.

"The only thing I would like to say is that we expected that before taking the final decision on a candidate, they will come back to us and other opposition parties".

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there are other Dalit leaders in the country who are fir for this role.

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CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said his party would take a call after a meeting of Opposition parties on Thursday.

BJP with a vote bank of 40 percent is in a strong position to muscle out the opposition.

He said Prime Minister Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah have chosen a really good person, who is honest and hardworking.

Even as several regional parties either indicated their support or opposition to the NDA's presidential pick, Patnaik initially kept everyone guessing as regards his party's stance on the issue saying he will first discuss the matter with senior party leaders. The opposition will take a call on whether or not to put up a candidate against Kovind on June 22. "But they informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now. we were not expecting this from the ruling party. They did inform us but only after they had decided on the name", he said and termed the outreach by the BJP as a "formality".

The announcement has confused the Opposition camp. From being seen as a party of the upper castes and traders, Modi and Shah have tried to re-image the BJP as embracing the entire "Hindu Samaj".

That the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) presidential nominee was going to be a surprise was a given. "This is not a very mature decision", she said.

Nitish Kumar also praised him for his exemplary work as Bihar Governor, for working impartially and maintaining an ideal relationship with the Bihar government.

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