Will contest on plank of democratic values: Meira Kumar

Will contest on plank of democratic values: Meira Kumar

All set to start her Presidential campaign from Gujarat's Sabarmati Ashram, opposition candidate Meira Kumar on Tuesday expressed her unhappiness over putting the contest as "Dalit versus Dalit".
The former Lok Sabha Speaker, daughter of Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram whom the opposition chose to counter BJP's Dalit card, has pitted the fight for the Presidential post as an “ideological” battle which she is “not fighting to lose”.
Kumar, who will take on NDA Presidential choice Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 polls, said she will face the electoral battle on the “plank of democratic values, inclusiveness, end of poverty, transparency and destruction of caste structure”.
“Two days ago, I have written to the collegium seeking their support. This is a rare occasion where history is being scripted and they should not be paying heed to other considerations. They should listen to their inner voice,” Kumar told a press conference.
Asked how far is the appeal relevant, she said it is “all the more relevant” at present times. “Some stand for the weaker sections and the oppressed. Some don't care about them. I am with the first one. It is imperative that I should appeal to the voice of conscience,” she said.
To a query on why she was getting into a losing battle, Kumar shot back, “why do you call it a losing battle? We might win as well. I am fighting and I may win at the end.”
“Pained” at the constant reference to the candidates' caste, she said such discussions never occurred in the past during Presidential polls and but at present, “the issue of two Dalits” are being raised while their personality or achievements are not raised.
“The caste system should be buried deep down in the earth....This is the highest position and it is an apolitical post. In my opinion, there should be no one-upmanship. I don't think caste identity should play a role,” she said.
About her choice of Sabarmati as the starting point of her campaign, she said all know the importance of the place and with whom it is associated. It is the place which is associated with Mahatma Gandhi who shook the empire through truth and non-violence and “I want to derive strength” from his ideology, she said.
Questions were also on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) announcing support to Kovind to which she said she would appeal all of them to support her. “In politics, these things happen,” she said.
On External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's allegation that she was partial in her conduct as the Speaker, Kumar referred to the speeches of leaders cutting across party lines praising her on the last day of previous Lok Sabha. To allegations of financial impropriety, she said these were baseless and all issues were settled earlier.
Kumar also referred to the lynching incidents and said they were “shameful” and “we should hang our heads in shame even if there is only one incident”.

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