President probables visit TN for support

Kovind meets OPS, Meira calls on Karunanidhi

CHENNAI: The ruling NDA’s presidential candidate, former Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind, said here on Saturday that he would function as a 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 here.

Earlier he arrived in the morning by a 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 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 BJP in previous elections, also called on Kovind. Rangasamy later said that “our party is giving unconditional support to the NDA candidate”.

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

Kovind later met chief chief minister E Palanisami, who also pledged his party’s MLAs and MPs to him after being requested by PM Narendra Modi over phone from Delhi. Incidentally, all 122 MLAs, including the 30 reported to be close to TTV Dinakaran who is itching to force a showdown, were also in the hall that received Kovind and pledged their support. After the meeting, Kovind left Chennai by a special chartered flight.

A little before his departure, his opponent and UPA candidate Meira Kumar arrived here to seek the support of TN MLAs and MPs. On her arrival, she said she had come to Chennai to personally appeal to 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 and leave for Puducherry on Sunday morning.

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