With the UPA nomination of Ms Meira Kumar as its combined candidate for the July 17. 2017 elections of the next President of India to succeed the incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee, a clear battle line has been drawn between her and the ruling NDA Government nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Both belong to the Dalit community, hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively. While the electoral college is advantageous to the NDA candidate, the fight is more than symbolic. It’s a clash of ideology, one representing the very idea of India with its core values of justice, equality and fraternity and attendant country’s civilisational strength of plurality of culture, diversity of people, their tolerance of each other amidst co-existence, and the other by the hard core Hindu majoritarian nationalism, intolerance of minorities, dalits and showing women in bad light through their gospel Manusmriti, which postulates four major Varnas with each such Verna having innumerable castes and sub-castes, deriding dalits and women and not considering dalits as part of Hinduism.
In other words, the contests and lack of consensus for selection/election of the next President is the clash between light and darkness, between divisiveness and inclusiveness, between enlightenment and obscurantism and between good and bad. Personal credentials of NDA nominee may be good, which is not in doubt. But the fact is that Mr. Kovind is a hard core RSS man and an unquestioned Sanghi, who in the event of his election, which seems certain given the numbers, will find it difficult to dispense objectivity with fairness to the highest Constitutional post in defending, protecting and preserving the Constitution of India, as also as the supreme commander of the armed forces of the country.
Given the credo, professed policy of polarization of people and resultant communal consolidation of majoritanian votes, and its lack of belief in the Constitution, the nomination of Kovind is a tactical political stroke, in which the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is killing two birds in one go, although the BJP is anti-dalits and its pro-dalit stance is election centric only. See what have they done to dalits in UP and elsewhere. Minorities and dalits are terrorized, reeling under fear, insecurity and victimhood with strident attacks on their life and very livelihoods under deep rooted wide scale discrimination from state machinery and its supported goons. And the governments are looking the other way.
Even if UPA candidate Meira Kumar may not win, the elections of the next President must not go uncontested. She represents all that are the best thought of and conceivably enshrined in the Constitution of India and the rule of law based system of democratic governance. Meira Kumar is enlightened, suave, refined and secular, who believes in carrying all sections of society together and inclusive development of the nation. She has proved her mettle in all spheres of public and personal life. She is daughter of an illustrious freedom fighter, crusader against feudalism and a distinguished Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjiwan Ram. She has been the country’s first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, Union Minister and a member of Indian Foreign Service.
As for the Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) President Nitish Kumar’s support to the NDA candidate R.N.Kovind and his drifting from earlier stated position to support the united opposition candidate, it must be said, his secular credentials have been always suspect as he has been wavering. While during the Godhra carnage and unprecedented riots where the official apparatus played abhorrent partisan role against all canons of justice, equity and fair-play under the watch of the then Chief Minister and current Prime Minister, the then Union Railway Minister Nitish Kumar played despicable role, enjoyed perks and privileges of Union Minister by quietly stopping Railways’ own inquiry thus helping the cause of the Sangh Pariwar. Even the inquiry report by Justice U.C. Banerjee, a retired Supreme Court judge, set up by the UPA Government, was put into the cold storage under a well schemed quirk of state machination.
In view of the prevailing situation in the country, the 2017 elections of the President of India will go down in the history as one that kept the conscience of India and the very idea of India as postulated by its Constitution alive and its flag of democracy and the rule of law based system of governance flying high!