Opposition considers Meira, Ambedkar's grandson

Opposition considers Meira, Ambedkar's grandson
The Opposition is considering a host of Dalit leaders, including B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, as its Presidential candidate.

The candidature of Kovind, a Dalit, has also junked the initial plans of the Opposition to field Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

With the BJP coming up with a Dalit name, sources said, the Opposition camp had to tweak its plans. They are in consultation to prepare a short list from the Dalit and tribal communities. Opposition leaders said the choice of Kovind is to consolidate the BJP’s gains in UP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Parties like the JD(U) admitted that they are in a fix as the nominee is a Dalit, while considerations in UP, where Kovind hails from, has put the SP and the BSP in a quandary.

While SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is open to support a BJP candidate, his son and party president Akhilesh does not want to break ranks with the Congress.

For the BSP, a source said, opposing a Dalit candidate from Uttar Pradesh would be a problem for its chief Mayawati, and the Opposition would have to take into consideration her views and field a Dalit candidate.

The Congress is of the view that the Opposition could field Meira, daughter of Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram and a Congress leader, while non-Congress parties appear unenthusiastic about a candidate from the Grand Old Party.

Prakash’s name is being proposed by a section of non-Congress parties as they said that this could put the Shiv Sena, which has reacted to the BJP choice as “merely vote bank politics”, in a fix.

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