Ram Nath Kovind meets Mehbooba Mufti
Meira Kumar files nomination even as numbers stack up against her
Even as Meira Kumar's candidature was approved by 17 opposition political parties, the numbers are clearly in favour of Ram Nath Kovind.
A total of 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs would cast their votes in the presidential election on 17 July. Kovind fielded by the NDA is expected to garner almost 60 percent of votes with the help of support extended by several non-NDA parties such as JD(U), BJD, and both factions of AIADMK.
Meanwhile... Oppn denies cracks over presidential poll candidate
Presidential poll candidate has become a bone of contention between JD(U) and the rest of the opposition parties. While JD(U) declared its support for NDA's Ram Nath Kovind for being Bihar's former governor, Congress fielded Meira Kumar, another Dalit and daughter of prominent leader from the state Jagjivan Ram.
However, Nitish's decision to stand by Kovind has started rumours that the Opposition unity may not be as strong as the Congress would like to portray.
Meira Kumar to pick up 'ideological fight' from 30 June in Gujarat
Meira Kumar is likely to launch her campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat after her nomination papers are cleared on Thursday.
"I feel I should start my election campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. I will start from there," said Kumar briefing media in New Delhi, a day ahead of filing her nomination papers.
Asked why Sabarmati, Kumar said, "Everybody knows the significance of Sabarmati in our country. The 'sant' of Sabarmati (Mahatma Gandhi) played an important role in the freedom movement of our country. That's why I am going there."
Who is Meira Kumar, Oppn presidential nominee
Meira Kumar entered electoral politics in 1985 when she joined Congress and is a five-time Lok Sabha MP. Kumar, the daughter of prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram, has beaten powerful Dalit leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati to win in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. She is also the first woman to become the Lok Sabha Speaker. Read more about her family background and political career here.
Ram Nath Kovind finishes nomination procedures on last day of filing papers
BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu filed fourth set of nomination papers on behalf of Kovind to conclude the nomination formalities for the NDA's presidential pick. The Presidential elections, slated for 17 July, will see a race between Opposition's Meira Kumar and Kovind, who has a decided advantage given to the strength of the ruling party in the House.
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu files fourth set of nomination papers on behalf of NDA presidential candidate #RamNathKovind.— ANI (@ANI_news) June 28, 2017
Opposition leaders, sans JDU, attend Meira Kumar's nomination
In yet another bid to underscore Opposition's unity, leaders from various political parties flanked Kumar as she reached Parliament House to file her nomination papers. From Congress President Sonia Gandhi, to All India Trinamool Congress' Derek O' Brian, prominent leaders from several opposition parties made appearances alongside Kumar.
However, JD(U)'s presence was noticeably missing from the scene, which had pledged support to NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, even before Kumar's candidature was announced.
Meira Kumar files nomination
Flanked by major Opposition leaders, including CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and TMC's DereK O' Brian among others.
Meira Kumar responds to Sushma Swaraj's allegations against her
Responding to Union minister Sushma Swaraj's releasing a video of a Lok Sabha speech to indicate how she was treated as leader of opposition, Kumar said leaders of various parties had never criticised her for her style of functioning but appreciated it.
"None had alleged that my style of functioning was biased."
Controversies from the past come back to haunt Oppn presidential candidate
Controversies from her past has come back to haunt Meira Kumar, who will file her nomination papers today. Kumar has been embroiled in a controversy over a government bungalow allotted to her. It is alleged that using her influence as the Lok Sabha speaker, she apparently got it converted into a memorial for her father.
Kumar, however, brushed aside these allegations, adding that due process was followed in the move.
"These charges are baseless and are being levelled with the intent of tarnishing my image. The government has given the bungalow to a government body and later a government office."
Tomorrow morning at 10 AM, I will pay homage at Rajghat and Samta Sthal, the samadhis of Mahatma Gandhi and my father, Babu Jagjivan Ram.— Meira Kumar (@meira_kumar) June 27, 2017
Meira Kumar to pay homage at Rajghat, Samta Sthal
Opposition's presidential nominee and former Lok Sabha speaker Kumar said that she will pay her respects at the Samadhis of Mahatma Gandhi and Jagjivan Ram, her father before she files her nomination papers at 11.30 am.
Meira Kumar to file nomination at 11.30 am
Meira Kumar will file a set of four nomination papers which will be proposed and seconded by leaders of a number of opposition parties. She will file her papers at 11:30 AM in Parliament before the Lok Sabha Secretary General, the returning officer for the 17 July presidential election.
Haven't yet made up my mind over appealing to JD(U) for support: Meira Kumar
As Nitish Kumar, a Congress ally in Bihar, declared his support for the NDA candidate, Meira Kumar said that she had not yet decided on whether to appeal to Bihar Chief Minister to support her nomination.
However, she had already reached out to each member of the electorate through her letter two days ago in which she made an emotional appeal to their "voice of inner conscience".
In a political comeback, Congress had named Meira the presidential nominee after BJP named Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential pick. While Kovind was the governor of Biihar, Meira hails from the state and is the daughter of a prominent politican Jagjivan Ram. Both Kovind and Meira are Dalits.
Recent attacks on Dalits, minorities shameful: Meira Kumar
Meira Kumar described recent attacks on Dalits as "shameful", even as she said that it was unfortunate that the elections to a constitutional post are being reduced to the discussion around the candidates' caste.
"We should hang our heads in shame, even if there is one incident of violence against Dalits." "Even today in our country, atrocities are being
committed on Dalits, the oppressed and weaker sections... my fight is against that," Kumar added.
Congress slams Sushma Swaraj for attacking its presidential nominee
Congress party criticised External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for targeting the Opposition's presidential nominee Meira Kumar. The Opposition leaders said that Kumar is a credible person, and that is a well known fact. Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said that Swaraj, while holding a responsible office, should refrain from making such comments, Deccan Chronicle reported.
The External Affairs Minister on Sunday posted a video of former Kumar, who was the former Lok Sabha speaker, on Twitter which she , "This is how Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar treated the Leader of Opposition." Vadakkan's reponse came in light of the aforementioned tweet.
Meira Kumar will file nomination today
The opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar will file her nomination papers on Wednesday, the last date of filing nominations. Apart from prominent Congerss leaders, leaders of 16 other parties supporting her, including NCP's Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad are also expected to be present during the filing of nomination.
Matter of great shame that there is violence against Dalits: Meira Kumar
"It is a matter of great shame for us. We should hang our heads in shame if there is even one incident of violence against Dalits or the weaker sections of the society," Meira Kumar said. "This is my fight."
'Dalit vs Dalit' tag shows us how society thinks: Meira Kumar
"I will go to Sabarmati ashram first to campaign for the election," Meira Kumar said. "Through this fight, the truth in the society is coming out. This 'Dalit vs Dalit' tag shows us how the society thinks."
"Caste should locked up in a piece of cloth and be buried deep underground," she said.
Meira Kumar again asks people to listen to their 'inner voice'
"In the coming election, this ideology will be the plank on which I contest. Two days ago, I wrote letters to all the honourable members of the Collegium, requesting them to extend their support to me," Kumar said.
"History is being scripted and this is the time when one should listen to one's inner voice," said the former Lok Sabha Speaker.
Unity of Opposition parties based on common ideals: Meira Kumar
"You all are aware of the political events in current times," Meira Kumar said.
"I am thankful to all the 17 parties who supported my nomination," Kumar said. "The unity of Opposition parties is based on common ideology. They are based on social justice, democratic ideals, freedom of press, end to poverty and casteism."
"These principles are very close to my heart," she said.
The importance of Presidential election 2017 for Bihar politics
Time has come full circle in Bihar. The kind of political upheaval that the state is experiencing because of the presidential election is reminiscent of what had happened four years ago.
On 16 June, 2013, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar broke his party's 17-year-old alliance with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), protesting against the elevation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was then appointed as the chiarman of BJP's election campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Friction between the BJP and Janata Dal (United) started surfacing as soon as demands of moving Modi from Gujarat and giving him a bigger responsibility in the general election started gaining momentum.
Read the full analysis here.
Kovind set for a comfortable victory
Set for a comfortable victory, NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind may bag over 62 percent votes but fall short of the 69 percent votes polled by incumbent Pranab Mukherjee in 2012.
With the battle lines drawn in the first-ever Dalit versus Dalit presidential contest, the odds are heavily stacked in favour of the saffron brigade candidate Kovind who is set to get around 7 lakh votes which is around two-thirds of the total 10,98,903 votes of the electoral college.
The joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar is likely to bag around 4 lakh votes despite the support of many regional parties like the RJD, traditional rivals the SP and the BSP and the TMC and the CPM.
Read the full PTI report here.
Sushma Swaraj had shared a video from 2013 to express her disapproval of Meira Kumar
Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter on Sunday to express her disapproval of former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.
Swaraj shared a video from 2013 on the social media site showcasing Meira's behaviour towards Swaraj inside the Parliament.
Swaraj was the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Meira was the Lok Sabha speaker. In the video, Swaraj discusses the corruption in the government, which back then was the UPA-II government.
Read the full article here.
Kovind says he does not belong to any party
"Ever since I became governor, I don't belong to any political party. The post of president is above party politics. I am thankful to everybody for their support," Kovind told reporters.
"I will do my best to maintain dignity of the high office of the president," he said.
Referring to national security, Kovind said, "The president is also the supreme commander of all three forces. It is our responsibility to keep our border secure."
Kovind has to file another set of nomination papers
According to India Today, Kovind filed three sets of nominations and will file another set on the last day of filing nomination.
Every set is signed by 60 leaders as proposers and 60 as seconders. This means that 480 MPs/MLAs have signed the nomination papers of Kovind.
Thankful to all who supported me: Kovind
"I am thankful to all those who have supported me. I will try to maintain the dignity of the post," ANI quoted Kovind as saying.
Ram Nath Kovind files his nomination for President in the presence of Narendra Modi: NDTV
Presidential Election 2017 shows parties need caste to survive
Before going into the merits or not of the candidates, the elephant in every Indian room, that is caste, must be addressed. Every election in India is dependent on the math around caste and this time around, the Congress has made that math irrelevant by matching BJP every step of the way, and trying to upstage them as well.
What has been most frustrating about this impending contest for the post of the Constitutional head of India no less, has been the politics of optics and perception.
Our caste bias more obvious than ever when we sit down to write or talk about politicians, especially about the leaders who come from oppressed communities.
Read the full article here.
Kovind to get Z+ security cover
Ram Nath Kovind has also been accorded Z+ security, and commandos of the NSG and security agencies have also done security audit of Kovind's temporary residence in the capital. "A Z+ and NSG security cover has been given to Ram Nath Kovind," a home ministry spokesperson confirmed.
It is expected that the security cover will be with him in the upcoming days and weeks, as he travels the length and breadth of the country to canvass for support.
Kovind could become second Dalit president of India
If elected, Ram Nath Kovind could become the second Dalit president of the country, only after KR Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan from 1997 to 2002.
Numbers firmly in Kovind's favour
The electoral college comprising all elected MPs and MLAs of India would appear to be firmly behind Ram Nath Kovind. NDA, its constituents and allies make up 48.6 percent of the electoral college. This apart, regional parties like AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have also decided to back Kovind's candidature as the next president of India, giving him over 60 percent of the electoral college, and that figure could increase further, given that some regional parties are still undecided.
Nitish supporting Kovind may set off political realignment in Bihar
Nitish Kumar created a flutter by sticking to his decision to back Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA nominee in the presidential race, even after Meira Kumar, a Congress leader hailing from Bihar, was named as the 17-party Opposition's choice for the top constitutional position in the country.
Many have described Nitish's decision as a smart political move; at a time when his electoral partners — Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members — are getting increasingly embroiled in corruption charges, Nitish has apparently found ways to rebuild bridges with BJP and Narendra Modi for a possible association in the future, if necessary.
This is, of course, not a one-off instance when Nitish Kumar broke ranks with his alliance partners, RJD and Congress. He wholeheartedly supported the NDA government's claims about surgical strikes against Pakistan, at a time when Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Yadav were picking holes in this claim.
More importantly, when the entire Opposition was up in arms against Narendra Modi's demonetisation plank, Nitish showed his solitary streak by being the only Opposition leader to defend the move.
Read the full article here.
In the run-up to the 15th presidential elections scheduled to be held on 17 July, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday called its MPs and MLAs to New Delhi for the signing of nomination papers, media reports say. The process to elect the next head of state began on Monday. BJP's parliamentary board meeting is scheduled to take place at 12 pm on Monday.
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 19, 2017
All senior ministers of the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, will attend Monday's meeting, IANS reported. BJP is likely to announce its candidate on 22 June.
According to IANS, the board members will be briefed about the consultation of the three-member party committee formed to evolve consensus with the Opposition on the subject. This three-member committee, which was constituted by Shah last week, comprises of senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley.
Although, neither the Centre nor the Opposition have declared their presidential candidate, yet several names like that of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, have been doing the rounds. However, Swaraj dismissed claims of her nominations saying these were merely rumours.
Meanwhile, the BJP has been trying to gather support of its allies and other parties before the voting begins. Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday to discuss the issue, but reports suggested that the talks were unsuccessful. Thackeray reportedly rejected Shah's proposal that Narendra Modi be allowed to decide on a presidential candidate.
Naidu on Sunday held discussions with Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who heads the Lok Janshakti Party. He also met Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal to come up with a mutually-acceptable candidate. Jaitley, on the other hand, spoke to leaders of the Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal.
Earlier on Friday, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu met CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and assured him that they would come up with names in three-four days and sought his part's support, PTI reported.
The presidential poll, which is scheduled for 17 July, will conclude on 20 July when the counting of the votes begins. The last date for filing nominations is 28 June, but a candidate can withdraw from the electoral race until 1 July.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Jun 19, 2017 09:12 pm | Updated Date: Jun 28, 2017 02:35 pm