Draupadi Murmu shouldn't be made 'symbol of Adivasi': Congress leader
In the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for Monday (July 18), Congress leader Ajoy Kumar raked up a controversy by saying the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu represents a "very evil philosophy of India." Speaking to ANI on Tuesday, Kumar said she shouldn't be made a "symbol of Adivasi" as the condition of Scheduled Castes has become "worse" in India.
Why does this story matter?
- Murmu, the 64-year-old ex-Jharkhand governor, will be contesting against the joint Opposition candidate, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, in the July 18 presidential election.
- If elected—which is nearly done as the BJP-led NDA has the support of the required number of MPs and MLAs and the backing of several smaller parties—Murmu will be the first tribal woman to become the President of India.
'We have President Kovind, Hathras happened'
Kumar asserted it wasn't about Murmu but the evil philosophy of fooling people by creating a symbol. "Yashwant Sinha is...a good candidate and Murmu is also a decent person. But she represents a very evil philosophy of India. We should not make her a symbol of Adivasi. We have President [Ram Nath] Kovind, [yet] Hathras [gang-rape] happened. Has he said a word?" Kumar asked.
All like-minded parties should vote for Sinha: Kumar
Kumar further said all like-minded parties should vote for the joint Opposition candidate Sinha as the presidential election is a "fight for the soul of the nation." "Creating symbols and fooling the people of India is what the Modi government is all about. This is a fight for the soul of the nation...all like-minded parties should vote for Yashwant Sinha (sic)," he said.
BJP hits back at Kumar
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit back at Kumar over his remarks against Murmu. Accusing the Congress of insulting Murmu, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala tweeted, "Ajoy Kumar #Congress Droupadi Murmu represents a very evil philosophy... After [Puducherry Congress handle] calling Droupadi ji 'dummy candidate' now this! This is how Congress insults India's first woman tribal president candidate (sic)."
Congress Puducherry had deleted controversial tweet
Last month, the Puducherry Congress allegedly tweeted that Murmu will be a "dummy president" after her candidature was announced. As per reports, the now-deleted tweet by the party's Puducherry read, "BJP want a dummy as President and at the same time they want to cheat SC/ST (sic).
Who is Draupadi Murmu?
Murmu is an Odia native who served as Jharkhand's governor between 2015-21. The former BJP leader was the state's first female governor and the first to serve a full term as the state's constitutional head. If elected on Monday (July 18), Murmu will be the country's first tribal woman and only the second woman after Pratibha Patil to hold the country's highest constitutional post.
What was Hathras rape incident Kumar referred to?
On September 14, 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was attacked at her village in Hathras while she was cutting grass with her family. The upper caste assailants allegedly dragged her by her dupatta into the fields and brutally gang-raped her. The victim sustained grave injuries leaving her with multiple fractures, paralysis, and a deep gash on her tongue. She passed away two weeks later.