The opposition on Thursday chose former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, a Dalit, as its candidate for president against NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind.

Kumar, a former diplomat and daughter of the late Dalit icon Jagjivan Ram, was the unanimous choice of the 17 opposition parties that attended the meeting.

With Kovind also being a Dalit, this makes it a Dalit vs Dalit presidential contest.

“We have decided to field the name of Meira Kumar for the presidential election… We do hope that other parties also join us,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi said.

Her party colleague, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, said Kumar was a unanimous choice.

b’A file photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the other opposition leaders | Source: PTI’

NCP leader Sharad Pawar proposed three names — Kumar, former union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Rajya Sabha MP Bhalchandra Mungekar, both Dalits from Maharashtra.

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury put forward the names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar.

The decision comes a day after Kumar met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the latter’s residence, a move which her name did the rounds all over the media.  

b’Meira Kumar | Source: PTI’

Here is all you need to know about Kumar who could be India’s first Dalit woman President:

  • Born in Bihar’s  Arrah district, Meira Kumar is the daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister and prominent Dalit leader, Jagjivan Ram.
  • A post graduate in Law from Delhi University, Kumar worked in Indian Foreign Service and has served as a diplomat in several countries.
  • After working as a diplomat for 15 years, she entered politics with a Congress seat from Uttar Pradesh and defeated prominent leaders like Mayawati and Ram Vilas Paswan.
  • The five-time MP served as the Speaker of Lok Sabha between 2009-2014.

(With inputs from PTI)

(Feature image source: PTI)