Meira Kumar, a Dalit from Bihar, is daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram.

Opposition picks former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as its Presidential candidatePTI / File photo
news Presidential Election Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 18:32

The opposition parties on Thursday picked former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to take on NDA's Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi announced Meira Kumar's name at a meeting attended by 17 political parties including the Left, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, DMK and National Conference.

Talking to reporters, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said: "There could not have been a better candidate than Meira Kumar for the post of President."

Meira Kumar, a Dalit from Bihar, is daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram. A lawyer and a former diplomat, she was the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha. 

Earlier on Monday, BJP President Amit Shah had announced that Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind will be the NDA’s Presidential candidate.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board which was chaired by PM Modi. 

The meeting was attended by Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena which is in alliance with the NDA at the Centre, said that the BJP should have discussed with its allies before finalising the candidate.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut, speaking with news channel NDTV, said: “You made a three-member committee, Amit Shah has met other leaders, then what is the point in all this… They (BJP) have the complete freedom to choose the candidate, it is the biggest party, they lead the NDA, we have trust in the prime minister… BJP should have discussed the name with all the NDA constituents.”

Earlier, a three-member team had been constituted by the party to choose a candidate for the election. Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu were part of the team that met Opposition leaders to arrive at a consensus. But the Opposition was insistent that the candidate must have strong secular credentials and had ruled out support for a candidate with a Hindutva background.

(With IANS inputs)


Also read: Dalit leader and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is NDA's candidate for President

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