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Meira Kumar hopes rival MLAs will break ranks

Meira Kumar hopes rival MLAs will break ranks
A flex at the control room welcomes Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind in Vijayawada on Monday. (Photo: DC)

Hyderabad: UPA Presidential election nominee Meira Kumar on Monday said she did not want to enter into a public debate with her NDA rival Ram Nath Kovind on issues like secularism, values and ideology.

While agreeing that the presidency enjoys little power, as all powers were vested with the Union Council of Ministers, Ms Kumar said the President could not be called a mere figurehead. The President plays a key role in guiding the Cabinet on core issues.

Ms Kumar, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, who was here as part of her campaign, said there should be no politics in the presidential election.

“It should be above political and party concerns. The post requires a person having both practical and constitutional knowledge as a guiding force for the country,” she said.

She said, there was “so much of fear about what one should eat. There is fear about what one should say. I am fighting for freedom of expression, freedom of press and for values.”

She said there were two weeks to go for the polls, and in politics two weeks is a very big time.

“Parties who have not supported (me) yet may reconsider their stand,” she said and added that she was confident that she may get support.

Asked why she was not chosen earlier, she said, “There is no use of discussing ifs and buts.”

She said that it was unfortunate even after seven decades of Independence people spoke of caste-based politics and caste-based selections to higher constitutional posts. She refused to say anything about the other contender for the post — Mr Ram Nath Kovind who is being fielded by the NDA. “Let me not criticise anyone now, I only appeal to the electors to judge the qualities and decide. I hope several parties will change their stand and support me,” Ms Kumar said.

Ms Kumar garlanded a statue of her father and former minister Babu Jagjivan Ram at Bash-eerbagh and those of Dr B.R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi.