NEW DELHI/PATNA: A day after breaking ranks with the opposition by backing the NDA's choice of Ram Nath Kovind for the presidential poll, the Janata Dal(U) today said this was not an indication that it would return to the NDA's fold. In fact, the party ruled out that possibility.
"The decision to back Kovind's candidature is an isolated incident. We will never go back to the NDA fold again," the JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told PTI on the phone from Delhi.
Tyagi said Kovind had played a positive and non-confrontational role as governor of Bihar. "We are bound to support Kovind's presidential bid as he discharged his duties with grace and poise," he said.
However, the JD(U) leader said his party's support for Kovind should not be mistaken as an endorsement of the ruling dispensation in New Delhi.
"Despite backing Kovind's candidature, we are of the view that the Narendra Modi government has failed on all fronts," he said.
Tyagi said contentious issues like Ayodhya, Uniform Civil Code and Article 370 continue to be sore points in the JD(U)'s relationship with the BJP.
While the JD(U) sought to maintain a distance from the NDA despite supporting its candidate, other regional parties which have supported Kovind's candidature have declared that they would accompany him to the Election Commission's office when he files his nomination papers on Friday.
The chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, all of whom have backed Kovind's candidature, would be present for his filing of nomination.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is already in Delhi. Tamil Nadu's Edappadi Palaniswami is expected to arrive on Thursday night and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu on Friday morning.
Soon after the BJP announced Kovind as its candidate for the July 17 presidential election, Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi offered their support.
Both factions of the AIADMK, mired in controversies, too offered their support on Thursday.