Opposition candidate Meira Kumar on Friday stressed that the post of President of India is "not symbolic" and that "capability and experience must always supersede" every other consideration while choosing the person for the post.
In a statement, Meira Kumar also expressed her gratitude to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and leaders of 17 political parties for their unanimous decision to nominate her as the presidential candidate for the July 17 election.
"It is indeed an honour, " the former Lok Sabha Speaker said in a statement.
"The post of the President carries the responsibility of safeguarding and defending our constitutional principles.
It embodies the diversity of our socio - political culture and the vision of our composite ideology. "
"It transcends the considerations of caste, religion or region.
The post is not symbolic; it articulates, in the fullest sense, the basis of our electoral philosophy - that capability and experience must always supersede all other considerations, " she added.
"The values I hold dear - of inclusiveness, social justice and pluralism - are the values the President must uphold as the supreme representative of our nation. "
"If these values are undermined so is our Constitution, and India can then not hope to achieve the progressive modernity envisioned by its founding fathers and reflected in the collective will of its people, " Kumar added.
Kumar appealed to members of the Electoral College to base their decision on "these cherished principles and secure them for our future generations. "