President must uphold values of pluralism, says Meira Kumar

On Wednesday, senior JD (U) leader Ratnesh Sada said, "All the leaders have decided that we will support Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president".

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy on Friday asked Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to support the candidature of Meira Kumar and not Ramnath Kovind in the Presidential elections.

JD (U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday chaired a meeting of party leaders in Patna that chose to support the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President's post.

Nitish said he had informed Lalu Yadav, Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury of his views on Ramnath Kovind. Nitish was received by RJD MP Jaiprakash Yadav who escorted him to the hall where Iftar was being held. But Kumar stuck to his stand, saying the Presidential elections should not become an issue of confrontation.

The RJD supremo said the opposition's candidate, Meira Kumar, was "bihar ki beti" (daughter of Bihar), and the daughter of former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram.

Countering Jaipal Reddy's statement, TRS MLC Karne Prabhakar said his party is neither in NDA nor in UPA, and sought to know as to why the TRS was not approached by the Opposition for support.

The JD-U, however, has refused to change its decision but said it was an "isolated" case. Bihar's daughter should be nominated when there are chances of victory.

He reminded that as the then Speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar ensured passing of Telangana Bill in the House.

Kovind had worked for Bihar without any bias, Kumar said. "But, they announced the name of Ram Nath Kovind without consulting us", Reddy said, criticising the BJP for not going for a consensus candidate for the top post.

"NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind comes from RSS background and in a diverse country like ours, it would not be appropriate for a person with narrow religious considerations to be President of India".

"The post of the President carries the responsibility of safeguarding and defending our constitutional principles".

The Opposition parties have begun gearing up for a symbolic battle against the BJP in the upcoming Presidential election. "There is a feeling that some non-Congress contender should have been considered", the sources said.

  • Leroy Wright