With Video Of Her Speaker Days, Sushma Swaraj Targets Meira Kumar
NEW DELHI: With the declaration of Meira Kumar as the opposition candidate for President, pitting her against BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind – open hostilities have started ahead of the July 17 Presidential elections.
Sushma Swaraj – whom a section of the opposition had favoured for the country’s top job – took a dig today at the Meira Kumar, who was the Lok Sabha Speaker from 2009 to 2014.
Ms Swaraj, who was leader of the Opposition during Ms Kumar’s tenure as Speaker, tweeted a link from her official handle, which read:
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 6, 2013
The accompanying 6-minute video clip showed an exchange in Lok Sabha, where Ms Swaraj is seen accusing then UPA government of corruption, presumably in answer to allegations that the opposition was stalling the proceedings of the House.
After she spoke for nearly four minutes, the Speaker is seen interrupting her. “All right”, “Thank you”, “Okay”, “I have to proceed”, the Speaker is heard saying, indicating that it was time for the Leader of Opposition to conclude her speech.
The External Affairs Minister also attached a link of a news report from the daily Pioneer published on May 3, 2013, which said Ms Swaraj was “interrupted” by the Speaker for “at least 60 times during the next 120 seconds of Swaraj’s speech”.
A section of the opposition was keen on Ms Swaraj being the government’s candidate for Presidential elections, though the minister had nixed the idea. After the government named Mr Kovind, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had even said, “The Office of the President is a key post. Someone of the stature of Pranab Da (Pranab Mukherjee), or even Sushma Swaraj or Advaniji (LK Advani) may have been made the candidate”.
Three days later, Ms Kumar was chosen as the opposition candidate for the President’s post. A former diplomat and later a minister in the UPA government, she had been picked unanimously for the position of the Speaker in 2009.
A section of the opposition, including the Left parties, has not only pointed to the RSS background of Mr Kovind, they have also accused the government of playing Dalit politics.
The BJP has hit back at the accusations of Dalit politics, questioning why the Congress failed to make Ms Kumar the President while it was in power and had the opportunity to do so. Ms Kumar is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram, one of the tallest Dalit leaders of the nation, who had also been a Deputy Prime Minister.