West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reserved her comments on NDA's president nominee Ram Nath Kovind, saying that the candidate for the coveted post should be someone who could be beneficial for the nation.
Banerjee who did not seem elated with the saffron party's choice asserted that President of India is a key post and someone of who holds equivalent stature akin President Pranab Mukherjee should be selected.
"In order to support someone, we must know the person. Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country. Opposition will meet on 22nd June, then only we can announce our decision," said Banerjee.
"I am not saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President. I have spoken to other Opposition leaders, they are also surprised. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country. Just because he was the leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP they have made him the candidate. The office of President is a key post. Someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani ji may have been made the candidate." She added.
Echoing similar opinion TMC leader Derek O'Brien in a veiled attack questioned Kovind's popularity.
"The name was announced at the BJP Press conference. That's how we got to know. Not even informed. How many of you logged onto Wikipedia today? I did," said
Earlier in the day, the NDA announced Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind as its candidate for the upcoming Presidential polls.
The announcement was made in a press briefing by BJP national president Amit Shah.
Shah further said that the saffron party hoped that the Dalit nominee, Kovind, would remain unchallenged as the choice and would be unanimously selected as the President of India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter and, in a series of tweets, said, "Shri Ram Nath Kovind, a farmer's son, comes from a humble background. He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor and marginalised. With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Shri Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation. I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised."
However, a livid Congress has said the decision was taken without their consensus.
"During the meeting the senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had said that they will inform us before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed us after taking the decision. The Centre apprised the senior leaders, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about the announcement over phone after taking the decision. So there is no question of mutual consent. We didn't expect this from them," senior Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad told the media here.
Asserting that the decision was one sided and taken without mutual consent, Azad further said that the grand old party would not comment on NDA's Presidential nominee now and would meet on June 22 to formally discuss the matter.