Hyderabad: Should Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao be credited for a Dalit being the ruling coalition’s choice of President of the country?
The Chief Minister’s Office claims so in a communiqué issued on Monday evening. The official press release says that during a telephone conversation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Mr Rao: “As per your suggestion we have decided upon a Dalit candidate for the Presidential post.”
He requested the Chief Minister to support the candidate. Mr Rao, after a brief consultation with party leaders, conveyed to the PM that his party will back the NDA candidate, Ram Nath Kovind.
Andhra Pradesh, too, will back the NDA’s choice for President. In a rare instance of unity, all the elected members of the AP State Legislature will vote for Ram Nath Kovind. Besides the Telugu Desam and BJP, the Opposition YSR Congress comprising 174 MLAs, is supporting the NDA nominee. This has not happened in any other state.
With the value of each AP MLA’s vote in the Presidential elections fixed at 159, the total vote value of 174 elected MLAs of AP is 27,666.
In addition, all the 25 elected members of the Lok Sabha from Andhra Pradesh will vote in favour of Mr Kovind. And barring the Congress members in the Rajya Sabha, the remaining nine members of the TD and YSRC in the RS will also vote for Mr Kovind.
The TS Assembly is also likely to back Ram Nath Kovind. In the House of 119, the TRS has 90 MLAs, including the 20 MLAs who defected from various Opposition parties.
The three TD MLAs will also extend support to the NDA nominee. The Congress has 13 MLAs, the MIM, seven, and the CPM, one, and they are likely to follow their respective party lines.
Each TRA MLA’s vote value is 132, taking the total value to 15,708. In addition, 15 of 17 Lok Sabha members from Telangana will also support the NDA nominee. Congress and MIM have one LS member each. Of the seven Rajya Sabha members from the state, three are from the Congress, and three from the TRS and TD and one seat recently fell vacant following the demise of Palvai Govardhan Reddy (Congress).
It may be recalled that in 1997, when Mr Chandrababu Naidu was convener of the United Front, he had consultations with the then Congress chief Sitaram Kesari and announced that K.R. Narayanan was the Presidential candidate. Mr Narayanan became the first Dalit President of the country.