Making an emotional appeal to MPs and MLAs, Opposition presidential candidate Meira Kumar today urged them to cast their votes with their ‘inner conscience’. She also said the President's post cannot be used for narrow political interests.
Taking a leaf from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's appeal made during the 1974 presidential poll in favour of VV Giri, Kumar said, "This is that moment when one should heed the inner voice of conscience and set the course of the nation."
She said, the Constitution recognises the office of the President as the "final touchstone" for the passage of laws. "It, therefore, cannot function to serve narrow political interests."
She has issued the appeal to the members of the electoral college even before filing her nomination papers which she is likely to do on June 28, the last date for filing nominations.
Kumar said, she was fortunate to have been associated, in various ways, with two monumental struggles of India -- the struggle to free India from the colonial rule and the fight against the tyranny of caste system -- that, she said, still plagues the Indian culture and polity.
"The nature of these two struggles has deeply influenced my sentiments, my thoughts and my actions," she said.
Kumar said during her public life, she has been inspired by the example set by the founding fathers of India, regardless of their political affiliations. "Despite the differences, I have found that when it comes to preserving the values of inclusiveness and the need for social justice, we all share the same goals," she said.
Kumar said the President takes an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution - the backbone of Indian democracy". "It is this Constitution that I and countless others have invoked to reinforce our democratic values. It has guided and elevated us in times of crisis and confusion," she said.