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  India   All India  28 Jun 2017  Presidential poll a battle of ideologies not castes, says Meira Kumar

Presidential poll a battle of ideologies not castes, says Meira Kumar

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 28, 2017, 1:02 am IST
Updated : Jun 28, 2017, 1:32 am IST

Kumar added that in earlier presidential elections, caste was never an issue but it was only the merit of the respective candidate that was in play.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and the Opposition candidate for presidential election Meira Kumar in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)
 Former Lok Sabha Speaker and the Opposition candidate for presidential election Meira Kumar in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: G.N. Jha)

New Delhi: The joint Opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, Meira Kumar, on Tuesday said the election is a battle of ideologies and not castes. Ms Kumar is pitted against NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. Interestingly, both the candidates are dalits. Insiders claim that the NDA’s choice of candidate forced the Opposition parties to name Ms Kumar. Rubbishing the caste claim, Ms Kumar said, “I don’t want that this election for the top position in the country should be contested on the basis of the caste. No countryman would want that. We are fighting this on the basis of our ideologies.”

Ms Kumar added that in earlier presidential elections, caste was never an issue but it was only the merit of the respective candidate that was in play. Breaking away from the Opposition unity, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has already declared that his party will vote for the NDA candidate. Playing down the cracks in the Opposition unity, Ms Kumar said she had already reached out to each member of the electorate through her letter two days ago, in which she made an emotional appeal to listened to their “voice of inner conscience”. 

The joint Opposition candidate also replied to the charges levelled against her. In response to the charges of irregularities over a bungalow in Luytens Delhi being converted to a memorial dedicated to her father, she said, “These charges are baseless and are being levelled with an intent of tarnishing my image. The government has given the bungalow to a government body and later to a government office.”

The external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had also released a video on Twitter, in which Ms Kumar, the then Lok Sabha Speaker, was ‘interrupting’ her during her speech. To this, Ms Kumar said no one had alleged that my style of functioning was biased. 

Ms Kumar is expected to file her nomination on Wednesday. Senior leaders like Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury will also be present. 

Thereafter, she will meet legislators across the country. She will start her campaign from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. 

Tags: presidential poll, meira kumar, ram nath kovind
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi