SRINAGAR: The ideologies and principles that Indians believe in and due to which the country is united, are under threat, the Opposition's presidential nominee Meira Kumar claimed today adding that she has asked MPs and MLAs to vote according to their conscience.
Here to seek support from the National Conference (NC), Congress and independent legislators in her bid to get elected to the country's highest office, Kumar said the opposition wanted to make the poll - 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.
Kumar said that the presidential poll was an opportunity to stop a "danger that is lurking against the principles and the ideologies" on which the country was based.
"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." she claimed.
So, 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, Kumar said.
"Seventeen parties have come together to tell you that," she said.
Kumar said that she had 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 this was a historic opportunity to take a decision to make the country move forward and make a new India according to new thinking in real sense.
She said that when such historic decisions are to be taken, the voice of the conscience has to be heard.
"So, I have appealed to them to listen to the voice of their conscience and support me," she said.
Asked how confident she was of the numbers, Kumar said "I think the numbers are immaterial before the voice of the conscience".
Kumar is pitted against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential poll, voting for which will take place on July 17.
"The President has to totally apolitical. 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.
"But once someone becomes the President, it is expected, he may or may not do so, but it is expected from them to become apolitical and rise above the narrow considerations of politics," she said.
Asked about Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar not supporting her, Kumar replied that "this happens in life and most often in politics that some friends have such thinking".
Questioned whether she would make an appeal to him and other such parties, who were not part of the either the NDA or the UPA, Kumar said she has appealed all.
"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," she said.
The former Lok Sabha Speaker said she wants an atmosphere of peace to return to Jammu and Kashmir.
"It (Kashmir) 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 peace and calm here as soon as possible," she said.
Addressing the media, NC president and Member of Parliament, Farooq Abdullah, said the opposition had come together to stop communalism in the country.
"We 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," he said.
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, Abdullah said.
We congratulate her that she has taken this burden on her shoulders, he said referring to Kumar.
"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,” Abdullah said.
Earlier, Kumar addressed a joint meeting of legislators and senior leaders of NC and Congress. CPI(M) MLA M Y Tarigami was also present in the meeting.