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Will contest the Presidential polls on the plank of democratic values, says Meira

After she was nominated by the Congress – led opposition as its presidential candidate, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar on Tuesday said that she will kick-start her poll campaign from the Sabarmati and contest the presidential polls on the plank of democratic values, inclusiveness, social justice and destruction of caste structure.

Addressing the media, Meira said, these polls were being seen as a Dalit versus Dalit contest. “When candidates of upper caste contest, people discuss their credentials. However, when a Dalit contests, his or her achievements are neglected. The caste system should be buried deep down in the earth.”

When asked about being targeted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who questioned Kumar’s neutrality by tweeting a 2013 video and a news report on Lok Sabha proceedings, she said, “All MPs appreciated my style of functioning when I was Lok Sabha speaker; none alleged I was biased.”

Till now, 17 parties have extended their support to Meira for the upcoming presidential polls. The major parties include Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Daland and National Conferance.

Interestingly, Meira Kumar was the India’s first woman speaker of the Lok Sabha, serving from 2009 to 2014. She is a five-term MP and has been Union Minister twice under Congress led UPA government. She has also served in Indian embassies in Mauritius, Spain and the United Kingdom.

NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind,  a Dalit leader from Bihar who had served as the Union Water Resource Minister under the UPA regime in 2009,  will contest against Kumar in the 2017 presidential election.

The presidential polls are scheduled for July 17 and the results will be declared on July 20.

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