Ram Nath Kovind, Meira Kumar visit Tamil Nadu to garner support for Prez polls

india Updated: Jul 01, 2017 23:54 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times
Ram nath kovind,Meira Kumar,Tamil Nadu

NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind who is on a brief visit to city to seek votes for his candidature being greeted by former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam in Chennai on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

The ruling NDA’s presidential candidate, former Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind said in Chennai on Saturday that he would function as non-party man and everyone’s president, if elected. He spoke briefly after meeting AIADMK Purtatchi Thalavi Amma faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.

Earlier he arrived in the morning by special chartered flight to canvass for his candidature and seek the support of political parties.

Senior state BJP leaders including state unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan and Union minister of state Pon Radhakrishnan were among those who received Kovind.

Incidentally, the two warring factions of the AIADMK, one of which heads the government in Tamil Nadu have already extended support to the BJP leader’s choice as the Presidential candidate. Former Puducherry chief minister N Rangasamy, who has had an alliance with the BJP in previous elections, also called on the visiting presidential candidate at the hotel where he checked into after his arrival. Rangasamy later told media persons that “our party is giving unconditional support to the NDA candidate.” Rangasamy had broken away from the Congress to form NR Congress and became the chief minister in the 2011 assembly elections. He subsequently lost general elections to pave the way for chief minister V Narayansamy of the Congress.

Kovind them met the MLAs belonging to the group led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam. OPS, as the former CM is referred to, told media persons that “we had announced our support to Sri Kovind the moment his name was announced.”

The NDA presidential candidate later met chief chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami, who also pledged his party’s MLAs and MPs to Kovind when prime minister Narendra Modi requested him to over phone from Delhi. Incidentally, all the 122 MLAs, including the 30 odd MLAs reported to be close to TTV Dhinakaran who is itching to force a showdown were also in the hall that received the BJP presidential candidate and pledged their support to him. After the meeting, Kovind left the Tamil Nadu capital by a special chartered flight.

A little before his departure, his opponent and UPA candidate and former speaker Meira Kumar arrived in Chennai to seek support of TN MLAs and MPs. Speaking to media persons at the airport on her arrival, she said that she had come to Chennai to personally appeal to the MLAs and MPs to vote for her in the battle of ideology.

She later called on DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and also met DMK working president MK Stalin and senior party leaders. Senior state Congress leaders had welcomed her and took her to the party headquarters where she met the state leaders. She will stay in Chennai tonight and leave for Purucherry Sunday morning.

In Puducherry, chief minister V Narayamsamy heads a Congress government after the party’s victory in 2016 assembly elections.

First Published: Jul 01, 2017 22:19 IST