“As I am contesting for ideology and not power or prestige, it is important that you vote by your conscience for values and principles that are sacred to our people,” Kumar told the legislators of the ruling Congress.
She visited Karnataka as part of the presidential poll campaign.
As the opposition candidate backed by 17 parties, the former Lok Sabha Speaker is contesting against the formidable ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
The members of Parliament and legislatures of states across the country will vote to elect the country’s 15th President.
Denying that she was made scapegoat to enter the poll fray after the NDA fielded Kovind, Kumar told reporters later that the contest should not be seen through caste or creed but on principles and ideology.
“I carry forward those values and principles which are sacred to our people across the country. I am contesting to uphold them,” said Kumar, who launched her campaign at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Daughter of Dalit leader and veteran Congressman Babu Jagjivan Ram, Kumar also called on former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and sought the support of his regional party — Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) — in the election to the country’s highest office.
She regretted that the presidential election was seen by some people through the prism of caste as the main contenders were coincidentally Dalits.
“It is shameful that election to the President’s post is being seen in that manner. We should come out of such mentality. When candidates from higher castes contested in the previous presidential polls, it (caste) was never an issue. Why now?” Kumar retorted.