Listen to voice of conscience: Meira

Meira Kumar flanked by NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah and others addressing a press conference at SKICC, Srinagar on Sunday. — Excelsior/Shakeel
Meira Kumar flanked by NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah and others addressing a press conference at SKICC, Srinagar on Sunday. — Excelsior/Shakeel

Adil Lateef
Srinagar, July 9: Asking legislators to listen to their voice of conscience, Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) President nominee Meira Kumar today said the opposition parties want to make upcoming Presidential poll an election of principle as “they (parties) have come together in the name of ideology and principles”.
“Seventeen opposition parties under Sonia Gandhi unitedly nominated me as a candidate for the Presidential election. I am thankful to them for showing trust in me,” she told a press conference here at Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) after holding a meeting with leaders of National Conference (NC), Congress and other opposition leaders to seek support for her in Presidential elections.
Meira Kumar, who is also former Lok Sabha Speaker, said the 17 opposition parties have come together in the name of ideology and principles and “want to make this election as an election of principles”. “These are the principles which are close to my heart and to the hearts of most of the people of this country. India is united because we believe in these principles. There are so many religions in the country, so many cultures, ideologies and languages but despite that the country is united only because of these principles,” she said.
Flanked by top leaders of opposition including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, the UPA Presidential candidate said “since some time now, a danger is lurking on these principles and ideologies and if that is not stopped immediately, then it is possible that the coming days will be lost in the dark”. So, said Meira Kumar, the Presidential poll was thought as a good opportunity to tell the people of the country that “there are people to talk about the things they believe in since centuries”.
“Seventeen parties have come together to tell you that,” she said and added that she has written letters to all the members of the collegium – the MPs and the MLAs – irrespective of the parties or the States they belong to and “told them that it is a historic opportunity to take a decision to make the country move forward and make a new India according to the new thinking in real sense”.
Meira Kumar said when such historic decisions – referring to choosing of President – are to be taken, “the voice of the conscience has to be heard by shifting focus from all other things”. “So, I have appealed them to listen to the voice of their conscience and support me,” she said. Asked whether she has numbers to win the “ideology battle”, she said: “I think the numbers have no basis in front of the voice of the conscience.”
Replying to another question, Meira Kumar said the President has to be “totally apolitical but process of election is political”. “This post is above politics. But the process of election to this post is political, because political parties have nominated both the candidates, so this whole process is political,” she said but added: “once someone becomes the President, it is expected, he/she may or may not do so, but it is expected from them, become apolitical and rise above the narrow considerations of politics”.
When asked about Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar’s decision to back ruing Bhartiya Janata Party’s Presidential candidate, Meira Kumar said that “this happens in life and most often in politics that some friends have such thinking”. Asked would she appeal to Nitish Kumar and ruling Peopel’s Democratic Party (PDP) here for support, she said she has already written to everyone and “asked them to listen to their conscience”.
“I just said that I have written to all the honourable members of the collegium regardless of their party affiliation, regardless of what States they come from. All the Members of Parliament, all Members of various Legislative Assemblies of the country have been addressed and I have made an appeal to them to listen to their voice of conscience,” she said.

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With regard to prevailing Kashmir situation, the UPA Presidential candidate said she want peace and calm back in the Valley “as soon as possible”. “It is a beautiful place and as they say it is heaven on earth. The people here are angels as well. I have been coming here and have seen a very beautiful Kashmir. The people are not only beautiful in their looks but at heart also. I want an atmosphere of peace and calm here as soon as possible,” Meira Kumar added.
On the occasion, NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah said they have come together “to stop the current situation in the country where communalism is on the rise”. “We pray to God to make the country stronger where people of every religion and language live with dignity. This (Presidential election) is a fight for that. Win or loss is in the hands of God, but we all have vowed to fight for bringing back those principles this country was based on. We congratulate her that she has taken this burden on her shoulders.
“This burden is not just for the Presidential polls, but she has to shoulder this responsibility in the future as well and take this country out of these difficulties,” he said.


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