A five-time Member of Parliament, Meira Kumar was today nominated by Congress President Sonia Gandhi as the Presidential candidate. Kumar, who was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, has served from 2009 to 2014.
72-year-old Meira Kumar is a lawyer and a former diplomat. She was chosen after a party meeting that included 17 opposition parties. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said after the meeting,
There could not have been a better candidate than Meira Kumar for the post of President.
Speaking to the media, Kumar said,
The collegium should decide the President in best interest of country, on principles and ideologies.
The meeting was held at the Parliament House Library and was attended by prominent members of the party including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ahmed Patel, besides NCP's Sharad Pawar and RJD's Lalu Prasad. Other leaders who attended the session were Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, DMK's Kanimozhi and National Conference's Omar Abdullah. From other opposition parties, Derek O' Brien represented the Trinamool, the Samajwadi Party had Ramgopal Yadav and the BSP Satish Mishra, representing their parties. Leaders from Trinamool Congress' Mamata Banerjee, BSP's Mayawati and SP's Akhilesh Yadav skipped the meeting.
The other parties included JD-S, RSP, JMM, Kerala Congress, IUML and the AIUDF of Assam, according to a TOI report.