Opposition presidential candidate Meira Kumar today invoked Mahatma Gandhi and gave the slogan of “do or die” in the fight for poor and minorities. In an apparent reference to the controversy over beef eating, she said the slogan was given to oust the British, narrow-mindedness and intolerance. “Today, the government asks people about their food… Dalits and minorities are being marginalised,” she said, addressing MPs and MLAs of the Congress and other parties that have extended support to her for the July 17 presidential election. “To carry forward the ideology I belong to requires a lot of energy. Dalits and the downtrodden are usually crushed and they need to be uplifted. The poor, belonging to any caste, need to be fought for. The fight is difficult and I need everybody’s support,” she said. The ideology of the Congress must not be allowed to “dry up” but it should flow like the Ganga, making the entire country pure, she said.
“It is not a big thing to respect one’s own religion … respecting others’ religion is. Gandhi got us freedom not so that poor and marginalised people are harassed,” she said. “The karo ya maro (do or die) slogan was not given only to oust the British, but also to oust narrow-mindedness and intolerance,” she said. She was fighting a battle for various causes including freedom of press and women, Kumar said.