Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Meira Kumar is opposition candidate

Meira Kumar is opposition candidate

NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination papers today in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most BJP-led NDA chief ministers, besides the heads of some other parties supporting his candidature.

"We have 17 opposition leaders present here and all of us have made a decision to jointly field Meira Kumar as a candidate for the forthcoming election for the President of India", Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced after the meeting.

"We have unanimously chosen Meira Kumar, a former Union Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker, as Presidential candidate", Gandhi announced after the meeting. It became clear that the Opposition candidate too had to be a Dalit to keep the politics from veering into unintended areas. "I will start my campaigning based on this decision", Kumar told ANI. Yesterday, Mr Kumar said that unlike the rest of the opposition, his party will vote for the BJP's candidate, Ram Nath Kovind.

Daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister and Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram, 72-year-old Kumar, MP for five terms, is also from Bihar which Opposition parties think will have Nitish Kumar in a spot.

Opposition leaders maintained that after the BJP fielded a Dalit, they had no choice but to follow suit.

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"Even I am proud of Bihar ki beti". Now, that the opposition parties have pulled out another dalit candidate, Maya has changed her decision.

Earlier in the day, RJD vice-president and senior party leader Raghuvansh Prasad said that it was Mr. Nitish Kumar who had first met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the RJD chief to request them for a joint presidential candidate of all secular parties but "later he turned around".

"He (Kovind) also said that Dalit status should not be given to Dalit Christians". But this is not a fight of personalities. "Had the BJP agreed on it, we would have supported him".

Reddy, accompanied by CPI national secretary Dr K Narayanana, said they hope both Patnaik and Kumar will have a rethink before casting their vote in favour of Kovind, whom they described as a "Sangha Parivar member". Kumar said the decision to support Kovind was taken at the meeting of JD (U)'s core committee. All the parties were reached for their support.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel brushed aside as "rumours" reports that his party may go with the NDA. Apart from her, other names which had been doing the rounds were those of BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar and former minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

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