On July 20, India got its 14th President in the form of Ram Nath Kovind who was picked as the presidential candidate by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA. Kovind (71) registered a landslide victory against Opposition candidate Meira Kumar by bagging 65 per cent of the total votes and is all set to assume office July 25. This is for the second time that India has elected a Dalit President since 1997. Prior to Kovind, KR Narayan was the only person from the Dalit community to hold this post. He is also the first BJP leader to be elected to the highest office of the country. Soon after the election results were announced, celebrations broke out at his ancestral village of Paraunkh village in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was exhilarated by the massive support Kovind managed to garner across the political aisle. Taking to Twitter, PM wrote: “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.” Here are 10 interesting facts about India’s 14th President-elect Ram Nath Kovind:
i. Kovind has represented India in United Nations and has also addressed the UN General Assembly on October 2002.
ii. Kovind entered into politics in the year 1994 when he became a member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha from UP and served as an MP for 2 consecutive terms till 2006.
iii. Kovind is also an advocate by profession and has also served as Central government advocate of Delhi high court from 1977 to 1979. He was also a member of Central Government Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993.
iv. After enrolling with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1971, Kovind became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court in 1978. He practiced in the Delhi high court as well as the Supreme Court for 16 years until 1993.
v. Kovind, in 1997, had worked as the private secretary (PA) of then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Later he had also served as national spokesperson of the saffron party.
vi. Kovind, who is considered close to veteran BJP leaders AB Vajpayee and LK Advani, was elected as the President of the BJP Dalit Morcha in 1998 and later as the President of the All-India Koli Samaj, along with the SC/ST representative, at IIM-Calcutta.
vii. Kovind has also served as a member of Dr. BR Ambedkar University in Lucknow’s Board of Management. He also worked as the member of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata.
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viii. Kovind has been working grass root level on various issues pertaining to Dalits and Schedule castes. He has also served in many committees such as Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice and others.
ix. Kovind is married to Savita Kovind and has a son Prashant Kumar and a daughter named Swati. As per Times of India report, Kovind’s daughter Swati is an air hostess in Air India. It is also being said that Kovind is an ardent dog lover and have been nurturing around half a dozen dogs.
x. Son of a farmer, Kovind is known for his humble origins and grounded lifestyle. Kovind has a clean image.