New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, the presidential candidate of the opposition, filed her nomination for the July 17 election in the presence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior opposition leaders. Kumar is expected to launch her campaign from June 30 at Sabarmati Ashram in BJP-ruled Gujarat, soon after the scrutiny of nominations on June 29.
Moments before Meira Kumar filed her nomination, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted in her support.
Against the ideology of divisiveness she represents the values that bind us as a nation&a ppl.Proud to have @meira_kumar ji as our candidate https://t.co/R7M5udN44y— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 28, 2017
Punjab's Amarinder Singh, Karnataka's Siddaramaiah and Puducherry's Narayanasamy were among the Congress chief ministers present when Kumar filed the papers in Parliament before the Lok Sabha Secretary General, the returning officer for the presidential election. Leaders of a number of opposition parties, including NCP's Sharad Pawar, CPM's Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O'Brien and other leaders representing opposition parties like the DMK, SP, BSP, RJD and JMM were also present.
The 75-year-old Kumar is the joint opposition candidate of 17 non-NDA parties against the ruling NDA's nominee Ram Nath Kovind. She has pitched the presidential contest as a battle of ideologies and not a 'Dalit versus Dalit' fight. Kumar had earlier made an emotional appeal to the electorate comprising MPs and MLAs to cast their vote with their "inner conscience". She also said the president's post cannot be used for narrow political interests.
Taking a leaf from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's appeal made during the 1974 presidential poll in favour of V V Giri, Kumar said, "This is that moment when one should heed to the inner voice of conscience and set the course of the nation."