Opposition Presidential nominee Meira Kumar on Sunday urged MPs and MLAs to “heed the inner voice of conscience” in voting and said a President cannot function to serve narrow political interests. Flagging her association with the freedom struggle against the British as well as the struggle against the tyranny of caste that still plagues the nation’s culture and polity, she said the nature of these two struggles has deeply influenced her sentiments, thoughts and actions.
Kumar said that during her years in public service, she had been inspired by the example set by the foundational leaders of the country, “regardless of their political affiliations”.
She said that despite the differences, she found that when it came to preserving the values of inclusiveness and the need for social justice, “we all share the same goals”.
“The President takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution — the backbone of our democracy. It is this Constitution that I and countless others have invoked to reinforce our democratic values. It has guided and elevated us in times of crisis and confusion. The Constitution recognises the office of the President as being the final touchstone for the passage of laws. It, therefore, cannot function to serve narrow political interests,” she said.
Telling MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as well as MLAs that as honourable members of the collegium, they have the unique privilege to make history, Kumar said, “This is that moment when one should heed the inner voice of conscience and set the course of the nation.”
Seeking their support, she said, “Let us stand together, in spirit and action, to affirm our pledge to this sacred process… and to that guiding voice within us. I seek your invaluable support in this endeavour.”
Kumar’s candidature was announced in a meeting of 17 Opposition parties on June 22, a day after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, breaking ranks with the Opposition, decided to support NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. She said that she felt honoured and privileged to be their nominee. “The election of our President is a process larger than any individual or party, and yet, in which each one of us is a stakeholder,” Kumar said.
This is the second letter of appeal Kumar has issued to seek votes from the collegium for the Presidential election. Kumar is expected to file her nomination on June 28 and kickstart her campaign from Delhi with a prayer meeting at Rajghat.