NEW DELHI: The Opposition has pitched Congress’s Meira Kumar against Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, forcing an election to pick the next President of India. The election will be held on July 17. Ms Kumar is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram — freedom fighter, Dalit leader and former deputy Prime Minister. The 72-year-old is a veteran politician. She had been a Central minister in the UPA government and later, was chosen unopposed as the Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha.
- In 2009, Meira Kumar became the consensus candidate of then ruling UPA and the Opposition NDA for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. She was the first woman and Dalit to head the Lok Sabha.
- Meira Kumar had handled the Social Justice and the water resources portfolios in the UPA1 and UPA 2 governments.
- A five-time member of the Lok Sabha, Ms Kumar represented Sasaram — a reserved constituency that was loyal to her father — from 2004 to 2014.
- Lawyer and diplomat, she had joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973.
- In her biographical sketch in a government website on Lok Sabha representatives, she has described visiting old monuments, Indian textiles and craft as her special interests.