Days after the Opposition decided to make the Presidential election a “Dalit vs Dalit contest and picked her to challenge NDA’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind, Meira Kumar said “caste identification” should not play a role in election to the high office. The contest, she said on Tuesday, is a battle of ideologies and questioned the society’s mindset for portraying it as a Dalit vs Dalit fight.
She rued the fact there is a hot debate on the two Dalits clashing in the presidential elections and said she was pained by the debate. “Prior to this, when elections for this post took place many a time there were candidates from the so-called upper castes. But there was no discussion on their castes. Their qualities, abilities and qualifications were discussed. I don’t remember their being any debate about their castes.
However, when two Dalits had been fielded, there is debate on two Dalits contesting. There is no talk of the personalities which shows how society thinks. I think castes should be buried deep and our society should move forward,” she said. She said the Presidential election is being fought on the basis of ideology and not caste. “Do you want the highest post in the land to be fought in the name of caste? The day election to the high office is contested on the basis of caste, it will mark the end the dignity of the office. We would fight for the post on the basis of ideology.”
When reminded that the Opposition picked her on the basis of her caste, she said: “This is the election to the highest position. Although its process of electing is political, the post itself is apolitical. For this post, in my opinion, there should be no one-upmanship of caste. I don’t think caste identification should play a role.”