New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Friday that the opposition parties fielded Meira Kumar as their presidential candidate to divide Dalits to "save their skin".
Only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah picked Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, as the NDA's presidential candidate, the Congress decided to field Kumar, Adityanath told reporters after Kovind filed his nomination papers.
"Intentions of the opposition are not honest towards Dalits, otherwise they would have fielded Kumar last time," Adityanath said.
The opposition parties have fielded her only to divide Dalits in the country, he added.
Echoing the UP chief minister's views, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that opposition parties have made Kumar a "scapegoat" by naming her as the opposition's presidential candidate.
"They thought about Dalits for the top post only after the BJP announced Kovindji as presidential candidate. And why didn't Congress nominate her last time when it was in a position to get her elected to the highest office," Modi said.
Praising the choice of the NDA, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das expressed confidence that Kovind would be victorious.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar described the BJP's choice for the top constitutional post as a step towards empowering the lower sections of society.
Kovind hails from humble background and is a committed person for social cause and his personality suits the stature, Khattar added.
Speaking highly about Kovind, Union minister Uma Bharti said Kovind was a successful MP and a committed worker towards social causes.