Ram Nath Kovind, Meira Kumar in Hyderabad for election campaign

BMTC services to Electronic City hit following protest by drivers conductors

These are aimed at gathering support from independents as well as Opposition party legislators from States such as Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura where the BJP has no Assembly representatives. "We have approached them and are expecting that they will vote for Kovind", a BJP leader said. The idea is to send a larger message prior to 2019 polls of a pan-India presence.

The Trinamool Congress on Monday said it was "distancing" itself from party MLAs who have declared support for Mr. Kovind.

Kovind's first stop in the region will be Arunachal Pradesh.

Since no whip is issued by the political parties in the presidential elections, BJP hopes many lawmakers in Parliament and various states will vote "as per their conscience", a euphemism for cross voting. BJP sources said the goal behind increasing Kovind's votes is to send across a message that he has been chosen by a wide spectrum of voters and also show that the Opposition is weak and its claims of being a united force against NDA are false. On July 7, he is headed to Nagaland and Manipur. The negotiations were however unsuccessful with only BJP's lone MLA O Rajagopal coming for the meet. These include Rajiv Chandrashekhar, Parimal Nathwani, Subash Chandra, Sadanand Karkare, Amar and AV Swamy.

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Besides the TDP and the BJP, which are constituents of the NDA, the lone opposition party in the state, YSR Congress (YSRC), has also extended unconditional support to Kovind. Sarkar joined BJP last month.

During similar travels, Kovind has managed to get support from two independent MLAs in Uttarakhand, one in Jammu and Kashmir, one in Karnataka and the support of smaller parties such as NR Congress in Puducherry and the Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana.

The YSRC MPs and MLAs will meet the NDA nominee at 11 am in Hyderabad and pledge their support to him.

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