Everything We Know About Ram Nath Kovind, Modi’s Pick For President

Everything We Know About Ram Nath Kovind, Modi’s Pick For President

by Swarajya Staff - Jun 19, 2017 05:53 PM +05:30 IST
Everything We Know About Ram Nath Kovind, Modi’s Pick For PresidentRam Nath Kovind being sworn in as Governor of Bihar (Image Credit: Governor of Bihar website)
  • Here’s all that you need to know about Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA’s presidential candidate.

If you are wondering who the presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is, worry not, Swarajya brings to you a brief on the potential candidate for the 17 July presidential elections.

To begin with, Kovind, 71, is currently the Governor of Bihar. He was appointed to that post three years ago by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. A Dalit leader, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh during the two terms of 1994-2000 and 2000-2006.

Life As A Lawyer

A law graduate from Kanpur college, Kovind went to Delhi to prepare for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) entrance test. After two failed attempts, he made it through in the third attempt. However, he did not join the allied services. He instead began his law practice. He was enrolled as an Advocate in 1971 with the Bar Council of Delhi. Kovind served as the central government’s advocate in Delhi High Court and became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He practised in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years till 1993.

Before he began his political journey with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Kovind also worked as a private secretary to the then prime minister Morarji Desai.

Political Career

Ram Nath Kovind was a former leader of the BJP's Dalit wing. In 1998, he was appointed as the president of the BJP Dalit Morcha - a post he held until 2002. He has also been President of the All India Koli Samaj as well as the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) representative at Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta.

He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh for two terms in 1994-2000 and 2000-2006. During his parliamentary tenure, Kovind emphasised on the development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas and helped in the construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand under MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme.

He has served as a member of several parliamentary committees, including the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, among others.

Kovind's Dalit credentials have been viewed as a great asset to the BJP. Incidentally, he played an important role in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, where the current Union Minister Rajnath Singh sought Kovind’s help to consolidate the Dalit votes. He has long been seen as the BJP's potential counter to the Bahujan Samaj Party chief and also a popular Dalit leader Mayawati.

He represented India in the United Nations in New York and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.

Even though the BJP has found acceptance among the Dalit and backward castes, making a Dalit lawyer from Uttar Pradesh as President of India has been viewed as a move to shed its image of a party of upper castes.

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