Will it be a cakewalk for NDA's Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind? Numbers back him
Even as Ram Nath Kovind was declared as the ruling BJP's candidate for President of India yesterday, dissenting voices are being heard across the political spectrum. A look at how the numbers stack up for Kovind
Even as Ram Nath Kovind was declared as the ruling BJP's candidate for President of India yesterday, dissenting voices are being heard across the political spectrum. The nomination of Kovind, a Dalit, and a low-profile candidate, is being contested by opposition parties which will be sitting down on June 22 to decide their position.
Mamata Banerjee's All India Trinamool Congress has already rejected the candidate. Others like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) has expressed happiness over Kovind's nomination, but has stopped short of backing Kovind.
The sticking point for a section of the opposition seems to be Kovind's association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Left parties are likely to demand a joint opposition candidate just as they did in 2003 when NDA nominated APJ Abdul Kalam.
So, does Kovind stand a chance. Let's see how the numbers stack up.
How Kovind's numbers stack up
BJP with a vote bank of 40 percent is in a strong position to muscle out the opposition. However, to get to the half-way mark, BJP will need the support of a few parties to put Kovind in Raisina Hill. However, what is comforting is, it won't have to look beyond its own allies.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP)'s votes amount to 3 percent. Let's not forget that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJD) (3 percent) has confirmed its support.
But it is Tamil Nadu's ruling party - the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (AIADMK) support that can hold the key. The two warring factions of the AIADMK control 5 percent votes in the presidential election.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's office has also confirmed that his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will back Kovind. They currently hold 2 percent of the votes.
All of these parties, including BJP, amount to 53 percent votes together. Plus, other BJP allies such as the Shiromani Akali Dal, Jammu & Kashmir's Peoples Democratic Party, among others, will come in handy, furthering Kovind's cause.
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There are some fence-sitters like the Shiv Sena which holds 2 percent votes, and hasn't confirmed its support for Kovind yet.
The JD(U) also controls 2 percent votes and may or may not support the candidate.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said that their reaction to Kovind's nomination is "positive" as he is a Dalit. She is likely to support Kovind unless the opposition parties also field a Dalit candidate.
Earlier this week, Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had also assured visiting BJP ministers that his party will back NDA's candidate.As the date of election nears, the list of approvers is growing longer. The Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Left parties are likely to field a joint-candidate. But, it looks like Ram Nath Kovind has the numbers -- for now at least.