New Delhi: UPA Presidential candidate Pratibha Patil on Sunday described the allegations levied against her as false, malicious and baseless. "I deny the allegations being made against me right from the day I was named as UPA's Presidential nominee. These allegations are false, malicious and baseless," she said.
"Despite all attempts to tarnish my image, I will strive to serve the nation," she added.
Pratibha launched her campaign with a rally organised by the DMK in Chennai on Sunday.
Pratibha has been accused of mismanaging a cooperative bank that went bust and shielding her brother in a murder case ever since her name was proposed by the UPA.
The DMK had organised the rally in her honour. DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was the host for the event.
DMK women leaders were in the forefront of the welcoming party. Pratibha Patil will be India's first woman president, if she wins the July 19 election.
"In the last two days, a great deal had been written and spoken about me. I only wish to say that the malicious allegations made against me are false. I remain steadfast to my commitment to serve countrymen and women in the highest and the most noble traditions of our democracy," Patil said.
She thanked UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leaders of the DPA in Tamil Nadu, particularly Chief Minister and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, and senior leaders of other supporting parties and the Left parties for backing her candidature.
"I have the unique privilege of being nominated as the UPA-Left candidate for the Presidential election and will have the great honour, when elected, of becoming the country's first woman President. Sixty years after independence, there will be a woman in the Rashtrapati Bhavan," she added.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said that Patil would work for the implementation of 33 per cent reservation for women, after taking over as President.
In an apparent reference to AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa’s criticism of Patil, he said the former Rajsthan Governor had worked as a `responsible opposition' leader unlike those who had criticised her. Patil's speech showed that she knew more than those who were criticising her, Karunanidhi added.