Prez polls: OPS faction to support NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind

Chennai: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam‚Äôs (AIADMK) rival Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction led by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday announced its support for NDA’s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, voicing confidence that he will perform as a “good administrator.”

Panneerselvam said BJP National President Amit Shah had sought support from him for Kovind and the matter was discussed with senior functionaries of the faction on Thursday, besides MPs and MLAs owing allegiance to him.

“Based on that and heeding BJP President Amit Shah’s request, it has been unanimously decided to back Kovind,” he told reporters.

An “opportunity” has been provided for a member of the Dalit community to be elected to the President’s office, and “for providing that opportunity (to Kovind), we have decided to support him,” Panneerselvam added.

Asked if the faction, which has 12 MPs and an equal number of MLAs, was supporting Kovind since he hailed from the Dalit community, Panneerselvam said the presidential nominee has been a former MP twice, besides having served as Governor of Bihar, and was, therefore, “experienced.”

“We are confident he will perform as a good administrator,” he said when asked about Kovind’s RSS background and reports that opposition Congress may also field a Dalit candidate against NDA’s pick.

The Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction’s announcement comes a day after the AIADMK’s Amma camp had announced backing Kovind in the race to Raisina Hill.

Chief Minister E Palanisamy had on Wednesday announced the faction’s support to Kovind, who has since resigned as Governor of Bihar.