Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will support the Presidential candidate picked up by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.
BJD president Naveen Patnaik this evening informed media that his party would support the Dalit candidate put up by NDA. This comes hours after Patnaik had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Naveen Patnaik over this.
“Prime Minister spoke to me about the candidature of Ramnath Kovind as Presidential nominee. He sought the support of the BJD in this regard. As you all know, last time when the Presidential elections happened, BJD had proposed the name of PA Sangma, an eminent leader from the tribal community. Based on the request of BJD, many parties including the BJP had supported his nomination,” BJD chief Naveen Patnaik said.
In this backdrop and the fact that Ramnath Kovind is an eminent lawyer belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, after discussing with the senior party leaders, BJD had decided to support the candidature of Shri Ramnath Kovind. The Office of the President of India is above political considerations and Biju Janata Dal wants to keep it above politics, he stated.
BJD MP Pratap Keshari Deb said that his party has decided to support the candidate as he is a Dalit like it had supported PA Sangma in the past election.
“We have no political compulsion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Naveen Patnaik twice over the matter. We maintain equidistance with BJP. No politicking should be done over this,” Pratap Keshari Deb said.
Earlier in the day, Patnaik had told media: “We will clear our stand on support to NDA candidate after discussion with senior leaders.”
On the other hand, BJD welcomed BJD’s decision to support its nominee.
“We welcome BJD’s decision to support Ramnath Kovind as Presidential candidate,” BJP spokesperson Prithviraj Harichandan said.