Calling the 2017 presidential election a historic opportunity, the opposition’s nominee for the top constitutional post, Meira Kumar on Tuesday said it was for the first time that the contest was between two ideologies instead of two individuals. The former Lok Sabha Speaker is the presidential candidate backed by the Congress and 17 other opposition parties, against NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind. Following the footsteps of former PM Indira Gandhi, Kumar urged the electoral college to heed their conscience, and vote in the nation’s interest.
“It is historic…this is the first time the election of the president is between two ideologies, not just two persons, as it has been happening earlier,” Kumar told journalists at the state Congress headquarters in Jaipur.
About both the ruling and opposition candidates being Dalit, Kumar said casteism had to be shunned and “buried in the ground” in order for India to progress. When asked about the numbers not being in her favour, Kumar said the voice of the conscience could magically alter equations.
She cited the example of the Presidential elections of 1969, when the then vice-president V V Giri had contested as an independent candidate against the official Congress nominee N. Sanjeeva Reddy. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had similarly urged the electoral college for a vote of conscience in favour of Giri. In a narrowly contested election, Giri was elected the fourth President of India, the only independent candidate to have won the post.