Launching her campaign for the Presidential elections from Gujarat on Friday, the Opposition’s nominee Meira Kumar remembered her father Babu Jagjivan Ram’s role in scripting a victory for V V Giri in 1969. The Presidential polls that year had seen a split in Congress votes.
“At the time of V V Giri’s election, Mrs Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was one candidate and V V Giri was the other. My father was in charge of V V Giri’s election. V V Giri did not win in the first preference poll. He won in the second preference poll. But he won. I wish my father was around,” Kumar said after meeting Congress MPs and MLAs at the party’s headquarters in Ahmedabad.
Asked if her appeal to the collegium to listen to their “inner voice of conscience” was inspired from the 1969 Presidential polls, she said, “Yes, it was popular then.”
Kumar began her campaign by visiting Sabarmati Ashram. “…17 political parties have selected me as a consensus candidate… The unity of the opposition parties is inspired by an ideology. This is the same ideology that I learnt from (Mahatma) Gandhiji. And so the first thing I decided to do after my nomination and scrutiny was visit Sabarmati Ashram.”
She added: “When (Ram Nath) Kovindji and I are contesting, the first thing that is being talked about is our caste. The other achievements are being overlooked.”