Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is opposition's Presidential candidate
Seventeen Opposition parties met at the Parliament library on Thursday to deliberate on a consensus candidate.
The opposition on Thursday announced it will field former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar against the NDA's Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election.
Born in Bihar's Arrah district, Meira Kumar is the daughter of prominent Dalit leader and former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram, and freedom fighter, Indrani Devi. Meira Kumar, like Kovind, belongs to the Scheduled Caste.
In 2004, Meira Kumar was inducted into the Manmohan Singh cabinet, as minister of social justice and empowerment, in the Congress-led UPA government. She then assumed charge as the Union Minister for water resources in the UPA government in 2009
Meira Kumar was elected Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009, becoming the first woman speaker of the country. She served as the speaker till 2014.
On Wednesday, the Opposition's plan to take on the NDA faced a setback as the Janata Dal (United) favoured Kovind, who was the Bihar Governor. The NCP and Janata Dal (Secular) have also reportedly sided with the NDA pick, leading to cracks in the Opposition camp. JD(U)'s ally in Bihar RJD has, however, backed the idea of fielding a candidate.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi announced Meira Kumar's name at a meeting attended by 17 political parties including the Left, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, DMK and National Conference.
Talking to reporters, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said: "There could not have been a better candidate than Meira Kumar for the post of President."
Meira Kumar - a lawyer and a former diplomat, she was the first woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha.