Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will be the joint opposition candidate for President against the BJP’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind, it was decided at a meeting chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. Like Mr Kovind, Ms Kumar is a Dalit leader.The Congress and the Left are the main proponents of forcing an election for President of India and want to field a candidate backed by all opposition parties.16 parties are meeting at Parliament House in Delhi at a session chaired by Mrs Gandhi to decide their strategy.The anti-BJP front has been left considerably diminished by Mr Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar,exiting the bloc to support the BJP’s candidate.Mr Kovind is 71, a Dalit and was, till his nomination, the Governor of Bihar. Mr Kumar has said he makes an ideal candidate for Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Chief Minister relies heavily on the support of Dalits in Bihar.The opposition is also feeling the strain of members like Mayawati, herself a Dalit icon, indicating that they don’t want to be seen as blocking a Dalit candidate’s rise to the top office in the country.To counter the BJP, the opposition is likely to review Dalit leaders today as its possible nominee. In the running: formar Speaker Meira Kumar, and former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, both of the Congress, and Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar.Mr Pawar, who needs convincing to side with the opposition, has to consider the fact that in Kerala, his party is a member of the Left-led coalition. So he may find it tough to side with the BJP against a candidate backed by the Left for President.Mr Kumar’s decision to vote with the BJP has put new pressure on his already fragile alliance in Bihar with both the Congress and Lalu Yadav, who is keen on an election for President.”The opposition had to unite; my question is what happened to that unity? He had to work according to the alliance but he did not…We are against the BJP,” said Raghuvansh Prasad, a senior leader of Lalu’s party, in an attack on Nitish Kumar.The BJP and allies now have well over 60 per cent of the vote with the support of several regional parties including both factions of the AIADMK, but the opposition parties that want an election say the contest will symbolise “a battle of ideologies”.