Kolkata (West Bengal) [India] June 19 (ANI): Taking a jibe at the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after announcing Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its nominee for the upcoming Presidential polls, Trinamool Congress (TMC) Spokesperson Derek O'Brien on Monday questioned extended support to him as his details and background were still unclear.
Speaking to ANI, O'Brien said, "Firstly, I would like to say that we thought there would be a discussion or consultation over the name but instead we seen the name flashing at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) press conference today which irked us all. He may be qualified for the job or post, but as Mamata di said we don't know much about the gentleman and his caliber or charisma so where is the question of extending support?".
O'Brien further stated that TMC was taken by surprise not only with the name but also by the nature of announcement.
"As decided, the Opposition parties will meet on June 22 for a discussion but before that we will have a talk with our Party Chief. But today after the name was announced we were taken by surprise not only with the name but also on the nature of the announcement," O'Brien added.
Earlier in the day, O'Brien took a dig at BJP by tweeting that he had to log on to Wikipedia and enquire about nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
"How many of you logged onto Wikipedia today? I did. #RamNathKovind," Brien said.
How many of you logged onto Wikipedia today ? I did. #RamNathKovind— Derek O'Brien (@quizderek) June 19, 2017
Meanwhile, TMC re-tweeted his post and asked that party was not even informed about the candidate. "The name was announced at the BJP Press conference. That's how we got to know. Not even informed," O'Brien said.
Earlier in the day, the Congress also rebuffed the NDA's move saying that the decision was taken without their consensus.
"During the meeting the senior leaders of the 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," senior Congress leader Ghulam 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 as of now and would meet on June 22 to formally discuss the matter.
"The Congress party doesn't want to comment on the name of the candidate announced by the NDA government. We only want to say that we had expected that before they take the final decision on the candidate they will come back to us and other political parties to build consensus first. But that doesn't happen," he said.
He further said that the meetings which were called by the BJP to discuss the Presidential nominee's name with the opposition parties were mere a formality and PR exercise.
The parliamentary board of the BJP met here today to discuss the upcoming presidential election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and M. Venkaiah Naidu and other senior party leaders deliberated on the names for the top constitutional post.
The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 25.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28. (ANI)
This story has not been edited. It has been published as provided by ANI