Open main menu

Meira Kumar (born 31 March 1945) is an Indian politician and five-time Member of Parliament who was the United Progressive Alliance nominee for President of India in the 2017 election.[1] She was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha and served from 2009 to 2014.[2][3] Prior to being a member of the 15th Lok Sabha, she had been elected earlier to the 8th, 11th, 12th and 14th Lok Sabha. She served as a Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of Manmohan Singh's Congress led Government (2004–2009).

Meira Kumar
The Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar paying homage at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, in Delhi on June 06, 2009.jpg
15th Speaker of the Lok Sabha
In office
4 June 2009 – 18 May 2014
DeputyKariya Munda
Preceded bySomnath Chatterjee
Succeeded bySumitra Mahajan
Minister of Water Resources
In office
22 May 2009 – 25 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded bySaifuddin Soz
Succeeded byPawan Kumar Bansal
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
In office
22 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
Preceded bySatyanarayan Jatiya
Succeeded bySelja Kumari
Member of the Lok Sabha
for Sasaram
In office
Preceded byMuni Lall
Succeeded byChhedi Paswan
Member of the Lok Sabha
for Karol Bagh
In office
Preceded byKalka Dass
Succeeded byAnita Arya
Member of the Lok Sabha
for Bijnor
In office
Preceded byChowdhary Girdhari Lal
Succeeded byMayawati
Personal details
Born (1945-03-31) 31 March 1945 (age 74)
Patna, Bihar, British India (present day Patna, Bihar, India)
Political partyIndian National Congress
Other political
United Progressive Alliance
Spouse(s)Manjul Kumar
ChildrenAnshul Kumar
Devangana Kumar
Swati Kumar
Alma materUniversity of Delhi

Kumar was the joint presidential candidate by the leading opposition parties for 2017 presidential election and lost the election to the NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind, but made a record for obtaining the most votes ever by a losing candidate (3,67,314 Electoral votes).[4][1] She is also a lawyer and a former diplomat.


Early lifeEdit

Meira Kumar was born in Arrah district, Bihar to the former Deputy Prime Minister and prominent Dalit leader, Jagjivan Ram, and a freedom fighter, Indrani Devi.[5]

She attended the Welham Girls School, Dehradun and Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls' Public School in Jaipur. She studied at Banasthali Vidyapith for a short duration. She completed her M.A and L.L.B. at Indraprastha College and Miranda House, Delhi University. She also received an honorary doctorate from Banasthali Vidyapith in 2010.[6][7]


Foreign ServiceEdit

Meira Kumar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973 and served at embassies in Spain, United Kingdom and Mauritius.[8] Kumar quit IFS to enter electoral politics in 1985[9] and was elected from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, defeating political heavyweights such as Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati, two powerful Dalit leaders.

Political careerEdit

Meira Kumar entered electoral politics in 1985[10] and was elected, on INC ticket from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, defeating political heavyweights like Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati, two powerful Dalit leaders of Indian politics. She was a member of the 8th Lok Sabha from Bijnor, 11th and 12th Lok Sabhas from Karol Bagh in Delhi. She lost her seat in the BJP wave of 1996, but was able to get re-elected with a significant majority from her father's former constituency of Sasaram in Bihar in 2004 and 2009.[original research?].In the 2014 general election, Kumar contested and lost to Chhedi Paswan from Sasaram by a margin of 63,191 votes.[11]

She served in the Congress-led UPA Government as the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, she was briefly inducted as member of the cabinet as Union Minister for Water Resources. Upon being nominated for the position of Speaker of Lok Sabha, she submitted her resignation three days after assuming ministerial office. She was elected as the first ever woman speaker of Lok Sabha. She served as the Speaker from 2009 to 2014.

2017 presidential electionEdit

Meira Kumar was the UPA presidential nominee for the 2017 election, which she lost to the NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Kovind got 2,930 votes (MPs and MLAs) amounting to Electoral College votes of 7,02,044 (65.65%) as compared to 1,844 votes amounting to 3,67,314 (34.35%) received by Meira Kumar. Kovind became the first ever BJP candidate to become President.[12] Despite losing by a margin of more than 3.30 Lakh votes, she polled a total of 3.67 lakh votes out of 10.69 lakh valid votes polled.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Presidential Polls: Meira Kumar will challenge Ram Nath Kovind, BSP and SP go with Opposition choice". The Indian Express. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  2. ^ India: Woman Wins Post of Speaker New York Times, 4 June 2009.
  3. ^ Meira Kumar brings Jagjivan to fore The Times of India, 4 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b Sunil Prabhu (21 July 2017). "In Defeat, Opposition's Meira Kumar Breaks 50-Year-Old Record". NDTV. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Profile: Meira Kumar, first female Dalit Speaker". 3 June 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Banasthali created a force of empowered women - Times of India".
  7. ^ "Biography] [Lok Sabha".
  8. ^ "Meira Kumar Age, Caste, Husband, Family, Biography & More | StarsUnfolded". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Law, foreign service, politics: Know Oppn's presidential candidate Meira Kumar". 22 June 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Bijnor(Uttar Pradesh) Lok Sabha Election Results 2014 with Sitting MP and Party Name".
  11. ^ "" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Kovind first President from Sangh, cross-voting boosts margin". Times of India. 21 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Chowdhary Girdhari Lal
Member of Parliament
for Bijnor

1985 – 1989
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kalka Dass
Member of Parliament
for Karol Bagh

1996 – 1999
Succeeded by
Anita Arya
Preceded by
Muni Lall
Member of Parliament
for Sasaram

2004 – 2014
Succeeded by
Chhedi Paswan
Political offices
Preceded by
Satyanarayan Jatiya
Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
22 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
Succeeded by
Selja Kumari
Preceded by
Saifuddin Soz
Union Minister of Water Resources
22 May 2009 – 25 May 2009
Succeeded by
Pawan Kumar Bansal
Preceded by
Somnath Chatterjee
Speaker of the Lok Sabha
4 June 2009 - 4 June 2014
Succeeded by
Sumitra Mahajan