India's opposition pitch Dalit for president

Posted June 26, 2017

The Opposition seems to have walked into BJP's plan to divide Dalits on the basis of subcastes in the Presidential elections by picking ex-Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as its candidate.

Meira Kumar, named June 22 the opposition's nominee for the July 17 presidential election, is a senior Congress and Dalit leader with extensive and varied political experience, and a strong proponent of social justice and equity.

Meanwhile Nitish on Friday, being firm on his stand to back Kovind said "Bihar ki beti" Meira Kumar has been nominated as the Presidential candidate by the opposition only to lose.

As reported by NDTV, Nitish also said that his decision to support Kovind won't impact his relations with Lalu Yadav and the Congress in the Bihar.

"I don't know why Nitish Kumar took this decision". And that given the current environment, to give the presidential polls an ideological dimension it would be necessary for the Opposition candidate to be from the same caste. Nitish Kumar was received by RJD MP Jaiprakash Yadav, who escorted him to the hall where the Iftar was being held.

Even a layman here is aware that BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who made well-documented allegations against Lalu and his family of amassing huge wealth and benami property, was being "fed" by the ones close to the Bihar chief minister.

"We had suggested the name of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and they (BJP) said about meeting again".

With 17 opposition parties picking former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to take on NDA's Ram Nath Kovind, the stage is set for a Dalit-versus-Dalit contest for the country's top constitutional post.

And being a woman, she had the backing of Congress party's lady chief, Sonia Gandhi, who in an earlier Presidential election too had backed a woman candidate, Pratibha Patil. "Don't make a historical blunder".

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". Kumar's candidature was announced by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi with Sharad Pawar seated next to her.

"Some of the political parties like JD (U), (Biju Janata Dal) BJD, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) or Shiv Sena have already announced that they are supporting Kovind".

"Every citizen of Telangana will remain indebted to Meira Kumar for her role in Telangana formation".

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.