live

Presidential Elections 2017 highlights: Meira Kumar picked for credentials, not Dalit status, says Opposition

Major opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Thursday amid indications that former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar could be their nominee.

FP Staff June 22, 2017 18:28:40 IST
Auto refresh feeds
Presidential Elections 2017 highlights: Meira Kumar picked for credentials, not Dalit status, says Opposition

Highlights

11:52 (ist)

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."

18:28 (ist)

Nitish has done a historical mistake, People of Bihar will never forget him: RJD 

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after 17 opposition parties led by Congress announced to pitch Meira Kumar against NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind.

After attending the meeting in Delhi, RJD leader Lalu Prasad said that Nitish had done a historical mistake.

"Nitish had called me and told about his decision. I advised him not to do so but I can't say what happened after that. Now everybody knows what He has done. He himself had pitched for opposition unity and backtracked," Lalu said.

Latest salvo from the RJD is set to widen the cracks within the ruling Mahagathbandhan. Other alliance partner Congress has also denounced Nitish' party JD(U) for going with the BJP.

Back in Patna, RJD MLA Bhai Virendra challenged Nitish Kumar to change his decision to support Kovind having RSS background.

"People of Bihar will never forget Nitish Kumar. Now a daughter of Bihar from Dalit background has been named Presidential candidate. Nitish should have waited and thought about it. He has done a big mistake and will pay price for that," he said.

Not only Bhai Virendra but other RJD leaders have openly ciriticised Nitish Kumar since yesterday when the Bihar CM announced to support Kovind. 

JD(U) did not participate in today's opposition meeting held in Delhi but RJD leader Lalu Yadav was present there. Lalu had made it clear that He would go with what the Congress led opposition will decide.

Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh alleged that Nitish had taken the decision to demean the RJD. He also feared the ruling Mahagathbandhan might not last long in Bihar.

- Alok Kumar, reporting from Patna

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

June 28, 2017 - 14:35 (IST)

Ram Nath Kovind meets Mehbooba Mufti 

June 28, 2017 - 12:31 (IST)

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. 

June 28, 2017 - 12:15 (IST)

JD(U) asserts Presidential polls one off incident, Opposition unity stands strong

June 28, 2017 - 12:11 (IST)

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. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:56 (IST)

She represents the values that binds us as a nation: Rahul Gandhi on Meira Kumar

June 28, 2017 - 11:52 (IST)

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."

June 28, 2017 - 11:45 (IST)

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. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:35 (IST)

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. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:30 (IST)

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. 

June 28, 2017 - 11:23 (IST)

Unfazed by JD(U)'s decision to back NDA's Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, major opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Thursday amid indications that former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar could be their nominee for the presidential election.

Meira Kumar met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Wednesday. Though there was no official word about the meeting, it is widely believed that Meira Kumar could be the opposition's choice against Kovind.

Like Kovind, Meira Kumar belongs to the Dalit community. She was the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha and also has been a Union Minister.

Ahead of meeting of opposition parties, Communist Party of India leader D Raja said that JD(U) was one of the opposition parties which had come together to field a common candidate in the presidential polls and its parting ways will not have any bearing on the stance of other parties.

Presidential Elections 2017 highlights Meira Kumar picked for credentials not Dalit status says Opposition

File image of Meira Kumar. Reuters

"It is one party. We are 17 parties who came together on the issue. (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar has taken such a position, it is for him. It does not mean all others follow Nitish Kumar," Raja told IANS.

Gandhi had taken the initiative to talk to opposition parties to evolve a consensus candidate in the presidential election. Nitish Kumar was among the leaders who met her and JD(U) leaders took part in all meetings of the grouping.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav was also a member of the sub-committee formed by opposition parties to decide the presidential candidate.

The Left parties are keen to put up a candidate against Kovind in what they call an "ideological battle".

Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Wednesday that there would be a "strong candidate" against Kovind.

"The question is of a political battle — whether the basics of our Constitution would be protected or RSS would convert the country into a Hindu Rashtra (nation)," Yechury said.

It remains to be seen if BSP, which has also said that it cannot oppose a Dalit candidate unless the opposition has a more popular Dalit nominee, attends the opposition meeting.

For the record, the Congress said the question whether they would be putting up a candidate against Kovind will be known only after Thursday's meeting.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, whose father Mulayam Singh Yadav is toeing a different line, said that his party would go with the opposition led by Congress.

"There should be no talk about whether a Dalit should be there (be a President)... caste or religion. Whoever would be the protector of the Constitution should be above caste and religion," he said adding that his party would attend the opposition's meeting on Thursday.

The other name doing the rounds as possible opposition candidates is of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who also belong to the Dalit community.

Updated Date:

also read

Narendra Modi turns 71: What keeps PM fit? Check details of his diet and exercise here
India

Narendra Modi turns 71: What keeps PM fit? Check details of his diet and exercise here

Modi has been deemed to be one of the biggest supporters and proponents of Yoga.

As Narendra Modi turns 71, from Ram Nath Kovind to Rahul Gandhi, here's how politicos wished the PM
India

As Narendra Modi turns 71, from Ram Nath Kovind to Rahul Gandhi, here's how politicos wished the PM

Huge celebrations have been planned for the occasion, with over 71,000 diyas to be lit at Varanasi’s Bharat Mata temple

Navjot Singh Sidhu a national security threat, won't accept him as Punjab CM, says Amarinder Singh
Politics

Navjot Singh Sidhu a national security threat, won't accept him as Punjab CM, says Amarinder Singh

Making it clear that he had no intention of quitting politics, Singh said there was no question of supporting Sidhu, who was 'clearly mixed up with Pakistan and a danger, as well as a disaster, for Punjab and the country'