On a day-long visit, former Lok Sabha speaker Kumar met the Congress MLAs and MPs from Punjab and Haryana to seek their support for the July 17 presidential poll.
"Earlier, the presidential election used to be a fight between two individuals. For the first time, it is going to be a contest between two ideologies," 72-year-old Kumar said at a press conference here in the evening.
She was accompanied by senior Congress leaders Salman Khurshid, Asha Kumari, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and Haryana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhary.
To a query, the five-time Lok Sabha MP said, "This is an election to the country's highest office...I respect Kovindji, my fight is not against him, but against his ideology."
To another query, she said it was a "sad situation" that the presidential poll was being dubbed as a 'Dalit vs Dalit' contest.
"When an election to the highest office is being held, the Dalit issue is being raised. Earlier, the capabilities, merits and achievements of the two candidates used to be discussed and no one talked about their caste," she said.
Kumar lamented that since the battle this time was between her and former Bihar governor Kovind, both of whom were Dalits, nothing else was being discussed apart from their caste.
"We are in the 21st century and India wants to become a modern country. But, this kind of a mindset is a mismatch when it comes to the aspirations of a modern nation," she said.
Earlier, Kumar described India as a multi-religious country, where the people followed different faiths.
"We have been taught to respect all and everyone respects their religion. But, we have also been taught to show more respect to the other religions," she said.
Kumar said it was "unfortunate" that the country was divided on the basis of caste and creed.
"But, as per the ideology and principles we have been following, our constant endeavour has been to put an end to these caste differences as these results in discrimination, oppression of the downtrodden, weak, Dalits, women, backward sections and tribals," she added.
Kumar said India always stood up against communalism and casteism. "But now, we have been seeing that these (communalism, casteism) are being promoted and therefore, we are worried. We feel that the coming days are going to be dark," she added.
Asserting that 17 political parties had pledged their support with her in the presidential poll, Kumar said, "Some of them may have differences of opinion on several issues, but they are united on this (communalism and casteism) and have decided to raise their voice."
She claimed that this "voice" was not of the 17 parties or her alone, but "of the majority of people living in this country".
Asked if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was supporting her candidature, Kumar answered in the affirmative. "We are getting their support," she said.
She refused to comment on Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's assertion that the opposition should have announced its candidate for the presidential poll before the ruling NDA, saying, "What can I say to this."
While the Congress, which stormed to power in Punjab in March after a gap of 10 years, has 77 MLAs in the 117-member state Assembly, the AAP has 20 legislators and its ally, the Lok Insaaf Party, has two.
The SAD-BJP coalition has 18 MLAs (15 Shiromani Akali Dal, three BJP) in the Punjab Assembly.
Of the Lok Sabha members from Punjab, the Congress has four, the SAD three, the BJP had two, but its Gurdaspur MP Vinod Khanna passed away recently, the AAP has four, two of whom have been suspended by the party.
In the Rajya Sabha, while the Congress and SAD have three members each, the BJP has a lone member from the state in the Upper House of Parliament.
In the 90-member Haryana Assembly, the ruling BJP enjoys a majority with 47 MLAs and the support of five Independents, while the Congress has 17 legislators.
The SAD and the BSP have a legislator each in the Haryana Assembly, while the principal opposition, the INLD, has 19.
Of the Lok Sabha MPs from Haryana, the ruling BJP has seven, the INLD has two and the Congress has one.
Of the five Rajya Sabha members from the state, the BJP has one. Media baron Subhash Chandra, an Independent candidate, was last year elected to the Upper House of Parliament from Haryana with the saffron party's support.
The Congress has two Rajya Sabha members from Haryana, while the INLD has one.