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Meira hopeful Gandhian values, conscience vote will get her through

During her three-day visit to Bihar, the opposition Presidential candidate met Congress and RJD MLAs but not CM Nitish Kumar, who had left for the resort town of Rajgir, hours before her arrival in Patna.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2017 12:42 IST
Anil Kumar
Opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar said , on Saturday, she was confident of her victory.
Opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar said , on Saturday, she was confident of her victory. (AP Dube/HT file photo)

PATNA Presidential candidate of the Congress and 16 other Opposition parties, Meira Kumar, said here on Saturday her candidature represented a fight for ideology, based on the idea of equal respect for all religions.

Just days ahead of the July 17 election for the post of President of India, Kumar expressed hope the voice of conscience would prevail to translate into endorsement of her candidature, in the face of challenges she faced.

“Bihar is a true representative of the age-old spirit of mutual respect for each other’s religion. This spirit enabled the people of the state to crush communal forces, whenever they raised their ugly head,” Kumar said, while talking to newsmen at state Congress headquarters—Sadaquat Ashram, here on Saturday.

Kumar said she had immense faith in Bihar’s tradition of equal respect for all religions, an idea also close to the heart of Father of the Nation, who came to Champaran to spearhead the freedom struggle, by integrating people from all sections and religions into a common bond.

Explaining that she started her campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat to draw courage and strength to carry on the fight to re-establish Gandhiji’s ideology, she said, “As a daughter of this illustrious land, I draw inspiration from and stand up for Gandhiji’s idea of India”.

Kumar, who faces overwhelming odds by way of the superior numbers in support of her rival, NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, said, “I have written to all members of the electoral college to listen to the voice of their conscience and exercise their mandate.”

Asked whether she would be meeting RJD chief Lalu Prasad, whose residence in Patna was raided by the CBI on Friday, before leaving for Ranchi for the next leg of her campaign, Kumar spoke of Prasad’s strong commitment to secularism.

“Prasad, a strong votary of the ideology and principles for which we are fighting, is standing with us. Political parties may have different views, but they are one on the issue of ending communalism and casteism. Opposition unity is based on common ideology and idea”, she said.

The former diplomat was diplomatic in playing down JD(U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s comment that the Opposition had made her a scapegoat by making her fight what looked like a lost Presidential battle.

“Standing up for an ideology is a challenging task. But fighting this battle cannot be termed as a losing proposition by any means”, she said. The JD (U) chief has already announced his support to Kovind, Bihar’s Governor till his name was announced as NDA’s Presidential candidate.

During her three-day, home state visit, Meira Kumar could not meet Nitish Kumar who left for the resort town of Rajgir, about 100 km south east of Patna, to recuperate from his illness, hours before she landed in the state capital.

On Friday, Meira Kumar had visited her native village, Chandwa, in Bhojpur district, where she garlanded the statue of her late father Babu Jagjivan Ram, a former deputy prime minister and an iconic Dalit leader.

QUOTE

Standing up for an ideology is a challenging task. But fighting this battle (Presidential poll) cannot be termed as a losing proposition by any means

Meira Kumar, Oppn Prez nominee