Presidential poll: Meira Kumar appeals for 'conscience vote'

Geronimo Vena
Giugno 26, 2017

The former Bihar chief minister said while Nitish Kumar skipped todays meeting of opposition parties, RLD leader Ajit Singh was there, ensuring that 17 parties supported Meira Kumars name.

"Top leaders of all opposition parties will be present when Kumar files her nomination".

The Opposition - Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI), and other parties - chose to meet on Thursday to discuss the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) decision on Presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind. India's electoral college will vote for a new President on 17 July, results of which will be announced on 20 July.

By picking Meira Kumar, 72, to contest against Mr Kovind, the opposition has turned it into a Dalit vs Dalit battle, seen as strategy to ensure the support of leaders like Mayawati, who said it would be hard for her to vote against a Dalit leader for the top post.

Although, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has the required numbers as of now, opposition's naming of Kumar could be seen as an attempt to put up a symbolic contest against the government. The move is significant because Kumar is not only a senior Dalit leader from the Congress, but also a native of Bihar and daughter of freedom fighter Jagjivan Ram. "It will be positive, provided Opposition parties do not field any Dalit for the post who is more capable and popular than him", she told reporters.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad reached out to Nitish Kumar, whose party skipped the opposition meet on Thursday, and appealed to him to rethink a "historic" mistake.

"The decision is not taken on any persons goodness, but it is based on ideology".

Taking a leaf from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's appeal made during the 1974 presidential poll in favour of V V Giri, Kumar said, "This is that moment when one should heed the inner voice of conscience and set the course of the nation".

"The Opposition has brought a good candidate".

Echoing similar sentiment, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also said that Kumar is the better choice for the post of the President.

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