Chennai: The AIADMK’s rival Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Thursday extended its support for NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, exuding confidence that he will work as a “good administrator.” Mr 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 today, besides the MPs and the MLAs owing allegiance to him. “Based on that and heeding BJP president Shah's request, it has been unanimously decided to back Kovind,” he told reporters here. Later, Mr Shah thanked Panneerselvam for extending his faction’s support to Kovind.
The BJP president spoke to Panneerselvam over phone and thanked him, said a release from the faction. In his media interaction, Paneerselvam said 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.” Asked if the faction, which has 12 MPs and an equal number of MLAs, was supporting Mr Kovind since he hailed from the dalit group, Mr Panneerselvam said the presidential nominee has been a MP twice, and was, therefore, “experienced.”