Meira Kumar: Seven things to know about the Opposition's Presidential Candidate
By Online Desk | Published: 22nd June 2017 07:30 PM |
1) Meira Kumar is the daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister and prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram and freedom fighter Indrani Devi. She is a lawyer and a former diplomat.
2) She was elected to the 8th, 11th, 12th 14th and 15th Lok Sabha. She had, in the 1985 Bijnore by-election, defeated both Mayawati and Ramvilas Paswan.
3) She served as Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment in then UPA -1 cabinet under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and as Minister for Water Resources in UPA-2 before being chosen as Lok Sabha Speaker.
4) Elected unopposed, Meira Kumar’s elevation as Speaker was emblematic in a way, reflecting the progress in the mindset of India, where a woman from a Dalit community, finally got a post of prominence. Kumar had succeeded Somnath Chatterjee, who was from the Brahmin community.
5) As with the political calculations now that seem to have worked to choose her as the Opposition’s candidate for the Presidential Election, even when she was chosen as Speaker, it was seen as an astute move by the Congress in picking a woman and a Dalit for the post, bolstering the party’s image as progressive and platform for minorities.
6) Kumar, however, did come from a background of relative privilege, having followed in the footsteps of her father Jagjivan Ram, a prominent political figure and Dalit leader. She is a law graduate who joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973, and served in Indian embassies in United Kingdom, Spain and Mauritius.
7) She is married to Supreme Court lawyer Manjul Kumar, and has two daughters.