Why Meira Kumar Is Important

Former Lok Sabha speaker and senior Congress leader Meira Kumar, a Dalit, is Opposition's candidate to take on NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind for Presidential election.

Speaking to reporters in Patna, JD (U) state president Bashistha Narain Singh said that "the party can not tolerate this and RJD must stop their leaders from making statements against the chief minister".

Today's meeting between Nitish Kumar and the RJD chief Lalu Yadav was the first after the later termed the former's decision to support NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind as a "historic blunder".

Tejashwi Yadav does not mention the Congress or Rahul Gandhi either, but is it clear who or what he means when he says, "The opposition parties also need to realise that politics can not be a part-time venture". Soon after the announcement was reported, the BJP said that the Congress has made Meira Kumar a "scapegoat" by fielding her as the Opposition's Presidential candidate.

Talk that BJP may consider Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu only deepened this anxiety and the opposition chose to wait it out even as Congress and Left leaders correctly figured out that consultations launched by BJP were aimed at weaning away regional parties.

Paswan also commented that the Bihar government will soon collapse as the mahagathbandhan that they claim to enjoy was never a gathbandhan, it was only a opportunistic alliance to come to power.

"I am not upset with anyone", Gandhi said.

And in a contrast development, even BSP chief Mayawati who earlier had asked Congress for supporting Kovind if any other Dalit candidate is not yet fielded. Her father was a freedom fighter. Many claimed that her election was a political move by the Congress Party, pushing their image as pro-women, while also supporting the Dalit rights. And just merely they were informed about Kovind's selection. But all others favored Meira Kumar's candidature, media sources said.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "From among Meira Kumar, Bhalchandra Mungekar, Prakash Ambedkar and Shinde, everyone agreed on Meira Kumar's name without any reservation whatsoever".

Meira Kumar favours deepening social justice rather than providing patronage to the weaker sections and has been unhappy about caste being "a dominant factor" in Indian society. The nomination process for the Presidential elections will continue till June 28.

Kumar said the post embodied the diversity of India's socio-political culture and the vision of its "composite ideology".

The BJP-led coalition has increased its support base in the electoral college from 48.9% to 63.1% with many parties outside the coalition having pledged support to Kovind.

  • Leroy Wright