President Ram Nath Kovind : All you need to know about him
“There would be so many Ram Nath Kovinds today – getting drenched in the rains, doing farm work, labour and sweating it out so that they can get their evening meals. I want to tell them that this Ram Nath Kovind of Paraunkh village is going to Rashtrapati Bhavan as their representative” – Ram Nath Kovind, 14th President of India.
Professionally a lawyer, a Hindutva ideologue by beliefs and a Dalit leader by caste – Ram Nath Kovind was voted in as India’s 14th President on July 20. The former governor of Bihar and two time Rajya Sabha MP. The swearing in will take place on July 25. A man of humble origin, he will be the second Dalit leader after K. R. Narayan to occupy the top constitutional post.
Kovind won against the UPA candidate Meira Kumar, the only opposition candidate. He obtained 65.65 percent of the total votes. Meira, on the other hand, received 34.35 percent votes. Cross voting in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Goa won Kovind over two-third of the electoral votes.
Born on 1st October 1945, Ram Nath Kovind began his journey from his paternal village in Paraunkh of Kanpur Dehat. In his first remarks as after winning the election for Presidential elections, he recalled, “…it was a kuchcha home of mud-walls. The straw roof would not be able to stop water during rains. We brothers and sisters would huddle around a wall, waiting for the rains to stop.”
When Ram Nath Kovind was growing up India had become independent and knew how essential education is for the progress of the nation and the society under then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Kovind, a bright student, qualified primary, pre-middle school education and intermediate examination from Khanpur in Sandalpur block. He did bachelors in Commerce from DAV College. Then, he obtained a degree in law from DAV Law College, Kanpur. Later, he went to Delhi to prepare for the civil service examination. In his third attempt, Kovind was selected for the allied services; however, he decided against it, to start his practice in law.
Ram Nath Kovind was the youngest of the five brothers and two sisters. His father ran a small kirana shop to support the family. Ram Kovind married Ms Savita Kovind in 1974. He has two kids – a son named Prashant Kumar, and a daughter named Swati.
Career in Law
As an advocate, Kovind ensured to provide free legal service to the weaker sections of the society, especially women and children. He did this under the aegis of the Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi. He joined the protest of SC/ST employees, in 1997, over orders which adversely affected their interests. Subsequently, three amendments were adopted to nullify these orders by the first NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. From serving as a central government advocate in Delhi High Court and then advocate on record for Supreme Court, Kovind managed to work his way up as a respected and eminent lawyer and social activist in the society.
In 1977, Ram Nath Kovind became the personal secretary to then Prime Minister Moraji Desai. This was the beginning of his political journey. He was nominated twice as Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh in 1994 and again in 2002, thus serving 12 years consecutively. During his tenure as Rajya Sabha MP, he served on various parliamentary committees including Welfare of Schedule Castes/Tribes, Social Justice and Empowerment, Home Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Hindi Shiksha Samiti. He also served as the chairman of Rajya Sabha House Committee.
As a member of Parliament, Kovind laid stress on the importance of the development of infrastructure for education, especially in rural areas. Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), he undertook construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In 1990, he donated his ancestral home to RSS and contested the election from Ghatampur and Bhognipur in Uttar Pradesh on the BJP ticket. He lost both of these elections and did not contest again. He was close to BJP Leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani. Kovind was the president of BJP Dalit Morcha (1998- 2002). He also served as the general secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Koli Samaj. He also acted as the national spokesperson of BJP. Kovind has created a number of leaders in BJP and RSS.
After the victory of BJP in 2014 general elections, he was appointed as the governor of Bihar on 8 th August 2015. His work as governor was exemplary. Kovind’s efforts were appreciated for improving the education system in Bihar. He constituted a judicial commission to investigate malpractices in the promotion of undeserving teachers, negligence in the management of funds and appointing undeserving candidates in universities.
Other Notable Contributions
Kovind has been a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata. He also served as a member of the Board of Management of B R Ambedkar University, Lucknow. Kovind served as the Indian Representative at the United Nations. In October 2002, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. As a Rajya Sabha MP, he visited Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK and the USA on various study tours.
Indian Presidential Campaign
It was largely speculated that BJP could choose a Dalit face for the top constitutional post to fight the anti-Dalit allegations against it. Kovind’s low-profile leadership and clean image paved the way to win over sceptics from all sections of society. After BJP Chief Mr Amit Shah declared the presidential candidate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “I am sure Shri Ram Nath Koovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised.”
After his victory was declared in the presidential poll, Mr Kovind said, “I never aspired to be the president; my win is a message to those discharging their duties with integrity.” He thanked all those who supported him from across the country. Kovind said, “I feel very emotional today and will represent all those struggling to make a living.”
A self-made man who was risen to this position by sheer hard work and dedication, we hope Mr Ram Nath Kovind is an exceptional president who will guide the nation to a brighter future.
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