Besides the NDA's constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD (U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an nearly foregone conclusion.
Counting of votes is expected to take place on July 20. Both Kovind and Kumar are aged 72.
Gandhi has all along been the first choice of CPM as well as Trinamool Congress. "We have appealed to others in the opposition to support her".
"It's a matter of pride that Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind is going to be the next president".
Among the non-NDA chief ministers who have announced their partys support to the dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh - K Chandrashekar Rao (TRS) of Telangana and Edappadi K Palaniswami (AIADMK) of Tamil Nadu - were also there.
The NSG commandos will move around with Mr Kovind, who is expected to travel across the country extensively to meet legislators and leaders of political parties to seek support for his candidature.
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But he said there is no doubt that "this is one occasion when we ought to say he deserves to take a victory lap". FILE - In this June 9, 2017 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., speakson Capitol Hill in Washington .
By putting up Meira Kumar as a joint opposition figure, the opposition wants to give the ruling party a tough fight even if the numbers are stacked against them. They have made me the nominee.
But Prasad's hopes of any U-turn by Nitish Kumar were quickly dashed with the JD (U) rejecting his request to reconsider its support to Kovind, saying its stand is based on merit and it will stick with Kovind. If he backs Kovind, Nitish faces backlash of Dalits in Bihar and if he changes his mind he will be shutting doors to central assistance. "Our party has always taken independent decisions on such matters".
JD (U) sticks to backing Kovind, Lalu calls it a "historic" mistake. Asked about Kovind's "RSS background", Kumar said Kovind had started his political career under the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai, joined the BJP in the 1990s and had not been associated with the RSS.
Anxious about cracks in the opposition over the NDA's nominee, Ram Nath Kovind, the opposition selected Congress's Kumar in a bid to woo back the JD (U) and ensure that BSP did not break away.
"Had it been so, they would have fielded Meira Kumar in the last election itself".
Prominent among those who attended the meeting held in the Parliament House Library were Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh and senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ahmed Patel, besides NCP's Sharad Pawar and RJD's Lalu Prasad.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury put forward the names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar.