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Meira Kumar files nomination, says ‘fight of ideology’ begins

New Delhi: Opposition presidential candidate Meira Kumar today filed her nomination in the presence of top Congress and other opposition leaders and said it marked the beginning of her “fight of ideology”.

Kumar, 72, who filed her papers with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh by her side, will launch her campaign from Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat on June 30.

Accompanying the former Lok Sabha speaker as she filed her nomination in Parliament House were a host of opposition leaders, including NCP’s Sharad Pawar and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

“For us, it is a battle of ideologies, principles and truth and we will fight it,” Gandhi said.

The Congress was represented by all its chief ministers – Amarinder Singh, Siddharamaiah, Virbhadra Singh, V Narayanasamy, Mukul Sangma – and its top leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ambika Soni. Former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh were there as well.

Also present were CPI’s D Raja, DMK’s Kanimozhi, SP’s Naresh Agrawal, BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, NCP’s Tariq Anwar, JMM’s Sanjeev Kumar and TMC’s Derek O’Brien and leaders of other opposition parties.

Gandhi and other top Congress and opposition leaders were among those who proposed and seconded Kumar’s nomination.

“I have filed my nomination papers as the opposition candidate for the presidential election. Along with Sonia Gandhi, leaders of 16 opposition parties were also present as were members of the electoral college.

“From today, our fight of ideology has started. This ideology is based on democratic values, inclusiveness in society, freedom of the press and individuals, end of poverty, transparency and destruction of caste structure,” Kumar said after filing her papers.

She also said she doesn’t merely believe in talking about about this ideology, but in implementing it.

Among others besides Sonia Gandhi who have proposed and seconded the candidature of Kumar are former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Devegowda, Sharad Pawar, Mayawati, Sitaram Yechury, Derek O’Brien, Ram Gopal Yadav, D Raja, Mohd Salim, Kanimozhi, Omar Abdullah, Hemant Soren, Jai Prakash Yadav, K Jose Mani, N K Premachandran, Hafiz Bashir Ahmed, PK Kunhalikutty.

Senior Congress leaders Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, Amarinder Singh, Virbhadra Singh, Siddaramaiah, Mukul Sangma, Lal Thanhawla and V Narayanasamy also proposed and seconded the nominations.

Kumar said she had already appealed to all members of the electoral college that this was a very important time when the country was at crossroads.

“There is one path which takes us towards narrow- mindedness and no concern for the poor and downtrodden, while the other path leads to uplift of Dalits, poor, oppressed, downtrodden, women and labour and people of all religions.

“I have urged everyone to hear the voice of their inner conscience and take the country forward,” the former speaker said.

She said she would reach Sabarmati, from where she draws strength and inspiration, tomorrow evening and would start her campaign the next day. From there, she would go to Mumbai and Bengaluru and be in Bihar on July 6.

She ends her campaign on July 15.

The nomination papers will be scrutinised tomorrow.

Kumar, who will contest against NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential election, had said yesterday that it was a battle of ideologies and not a ‘Dalit versus Dalit’ fight as was being made out by some.

—PTI