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Ram Nath Kovind

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His Excellency
Ram Nath Kovind
RamNathKovind (cropped).jpg
14th President of India
Assumed office
25 July 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Preceded by Pranab Mukherjee
35th Governor of Bihar
In office
16 August 2015 – 20 June 2017[1]
Preceded by Keshari Nath Tripathi
Succeeded by Keshari Nath Tripathi
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 April 1994 – 2 April 2006
Personal details
Born (1945-10-01) 1 October 1945 (age 71)
Paraunkh village, Derapur, United Provinces, British India
(now in Uttar Pradesh, India)
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party (1991-2017)
Spouse(s) Savita Kovind (m. 1974)
Children 2
Residence Rashtrapati Bhavan
Alma mater Kanpur University
Profession Advocate, politician, activist

Ram Nath Kovind (born 1 October 1945) is an Indian politician who is the 14th and current President of India. He served as the 35th Governor of Bihar from 2015 to 2017[2] and was a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 2006. He was a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kovind was nominated as a presidential candidate by the ruling NDA coalition and won the 2017 presidential election, becoming the second Dalit to be elected to the post of president.[3] He assumed office on 25 July 2017.

Before entering politics, he was a lawyer for 16 years and practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court until 1993.[4]

Early life and education

Kovind was born in Paraukh village in the Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh.[5][6] His father Maikulal was a landless Kori (a Dalit weaving community) who ran a small shop to support his family. He was the youngest of five brothers and two sisters. He was born in a mud hut, which eventually collapsed. He was only five when his mother died of burns when their thatched dwelling caught fire. Kovind later donated the land to the community.[7]

After his elementary school education, he had to walk each day to Khanpur village, 8 km away, to attend junior school, as nobody in the village had a bicycle.[8] He holds a Bachelor's degree in commerce and a LLB from DAV College (affiliated with Kanpur University).[9][10][5]

With PM Modi at the Centenary Celebrations of the Patna High Court, in Bihar

Career

Kovind at a function with Prime Minister Narendra Modi opening a bridge in Bihar, 2016.

Advocate

After graduating in law from a Kanpur college, Kovind went to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He passed this exam on his third attempt, but he did not join as he was selected for an allied service instead of IAS and thus started practicing law.[11]

Kovind enrolled as an advocate in 1971 with the bar council of Delhi. He was Central Government Advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. Between 1977 & 1978, he also served as the personal assistant of Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai.[12] In 1978, he became an advocate-on-record of the Supreme Court of India and served as a Central Government standing counsel in the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India from 1980 to 1993. He practiced in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court until 1993. As an advocate he provided free legal aid to weaker sections of society, women and the poor under the Free Legal Aid Society in New Delhi.[9]

BJP member

He joined the BJP in 1991.[12] He was President of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002 and President of the All-India Koli Samaj[when?]. He also served as national spokesperson of the party.[13] He donated his ancestral home in Derapur to the RSS.[12] Soon after joining the BJP, he contested for Ghatampur assembly constituency, but lost and later contested for Bhognipur(in 2007) (both in Uttar Pradesh) assembly constituency on the BJP ticket but lost again.[14]

In 1997, Kovind joined the protest against certain orders from the Central government that had adverse effects on the SC/ST workers. Later 3 amendments were made to the Constitution that revoked the orders, by the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.[15]

Rajya Sabha

He was elected and became a Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh in April 1994. He served a total of twelve years, two consecutive terms, until March 2006. As a member of parliament, he served on the Parliamentary Committee for Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Home Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Social Justice and Empowerment, Law and Justice. He also served as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha House Committee. During his career as a parliamentarian, under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, he focused on education in rural areas by helping in construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. As a member of parliament, he visited Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom and the United States on study tours.[10]

Other appointments

He has served on the Board of management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow,[when?] and as on the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta[when?]. He has also represented India at the UN and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.[16]

Governor

On 8 August 2015, the President of India appointed Kovind as Governor of Bihar.[17] On 16 August 2015, the acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Iqbal Ahmad Ansari, administered the oath to Kovind as the 35th Governor of Bihar. The function took place at Raj Bhawan, Patna.[18]

Kovind's appointment was criticized by then Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar as it came months before State Assembly elections and the appointment made without consulting State Government as recommended by Sarkaria Commission.[19] However, Kovind's term as Governor, was praised for constituting a judicial commission to investigate irregularities in promotion of undeserving teachers, mis-management of funds and appointment of undeserving candidates in universities.[12] In June 2017, when Kovind was announced as candidate for Presidential election, Nitish Kumar backed Kovind's choice and praised Kovind as being unbaised and working closely with the State Government during his Governorship.[20]

2017 presidency campaign

After nomination for the post of 14th President of India, he resigned from his post as Governor of Bihar, and President of India Pranab Mukherjee accepted his resignation on 20 June 2017.[21] He won election on 20 July 2017.[22]

Ram Nath Kovind received 65.6% of the valid votes, against former Speaker of the Lok Sabha- Meira Kumar, the presidential candidate of the Opposition who received 34.35% of the total votes. Kovind received 2,930 votes (From MPs and MLAs) amounting to Electoral College votes of 7,02,044 (65.65%) as compared to 1,844 votes with a value of 3,67,314 (34.35%) votes for Meira Kumar lagging far behind with 367,314 votes, and 77 votes were invalid.[23]. He became only the second Dalit representative to become President after K. R. Narayanan, and also is the first BJP candidate to be elected to the post.[24] Despite losing by a margin of more than 330,000 Lakh votes, Meira Kumar made the record for receiving the highest ever votes by a losing candidate.[25]

14th President of India

Ram Nath Kovind has taken oath as the 14th President of India [26]

Personal life

Kovind married Savita Kovind on 30 May 1974. They have a son, Prashant Kumar, and a daughter, Swati.[5]

Controversy

In 2010, he was reported to have said that "Islam and Christianity are alien to the nation" as spokesperson of the BJP.[27][28] As reported by IANS and published by Hindustan Times, he made this comment in response to the Ranganath Misra Commission which recommended 15 percent reservation for religious and linguistic minorities in government jobs.[29] Although more recently, the issue was raised in the media if whether or not he was misquoted and that he in fact said “Islam and Christianity are alien to the notion (of caste)” as opposed to what was reported as "nation".[30][31]

References

  1. ^ "Press Releases Detail – The President of India". presidentofindia.nic.in. 
  2. ^ Ram Nath Kovind resigns as Bihar Governor (20 June 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind resigns as Bihar Governor". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  3. ^ CNN, Huizhong Wu (20 July 2017). "Man from India's lowest caste elected president". CNN. 
  4. ^ "Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is NDA nominee for President". The Hindu. The Hindu. June 19, 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Governor of Bihar". governor.bih.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  6. ^ Ram Nath Kovind, Paraukh and the road to Raisina Hill, Omar Rashid, The Hindu, JUNE 20, 2017
  7. ^ कानपुर से ग्राउंड रिपोर्ट, कमाल खान, वंदना वर्मा, NDTV, 20 जुलाई, 2017
  8. ^ Tiwari, Vaibhav (2017-06-20). "NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind would walk 8 km daily for school". India.com. Retrieved 2017-07-25. 
  9. ^ a b PTI (19 June 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind: A crusader for the rights of weaker sections". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  10. ^ a b "Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind: 10 facts about NDA's Presidential nominee – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  11. ^ PTI (19 June 2017). "What you should know about BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind". Archived from the original on 18 July 2017 – via The Economic Times. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Ram Nath Kovind, a lawyer who cracked civils but lost 2 elections – Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 18 July 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Enact tougher laws to prevent crimes against dalits". The Hindu. 
  14. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind, a lawyer who cracked civils but lost 2 elections". Times of India. Jun 20, 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind is BJP's choice for president: All you need to know about the Dalit leader from UP". Firstpost. Jul 20, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Ramnath Kovind Profile". Outlook. 2017-06-19. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  17. ^ PTI (8 August 2015). "Ram Nath Kovind, Acharya Dev Vrat appointed as Bihar and Himachal Pradesh governors" – via The Economic Times. 
  18. ^ "36th Governor of Bihar". indiatoday. 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  19. ^ PTI (19 August 2015). "PM Modi praises new Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind" – via India TV News. 
  20. ^ IANS (19 June 2017). "Presidential Election 2017: Nitish Kumar praises Ram Nath Kovind, remains mum on party support" – via First Post. 
  21. ^ "Resignation as Governor of Bihar". firstpost. 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-20. 
  22. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th President of India". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  23. ^ "With 65 percent votes, Kovind sweeps elections". Times of India. 21 July 2017. 
  24. ^ "Kovind first President from Sangh, cross-voting boosts margin". Times of India. Jul 21, 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  25. ^ Sunil Prabhu (July 21, 2017). "In Defeat, Opposition's Meira Kumar Breaks 50-Year-Old Record". NDTV. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  26. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind takes oath as India’s 14th President". indtoday.com. 2017-07-25. 
  27. ^ "Why is India's next president so unknown?". BBC. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  28. ^ "When NDA Presidential pick Kovind said Islam, Christianity are alien to India". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  29. ^ "Islam, Christianity alien, so cannot get quota: BJP". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  30. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind’s ‘Islam, Christianity’ statement triggers nation vs notion row". Hindustan Times. Jun 27, 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  31. ^ Chhatisgarh Khabar, June 20, 2012, Text of March 2010 statement

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Keshari Nath Tripathi
Governor of Bihar
2015–2017
Succeeded by
Keshari Nath Tripathi
Preceded by
Pranab Mukherjee
President of India
2017–present
Incumbent