Ram nath Kovind is set to become the 14th President of India after the end of President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure in July. The declaration of Bihar governor Kovind’s name as the NDA presidential candidate on Monday surprised many as very little was known about him beyond political circles. Kovind has occupied several high-profile offices in his lifetime but maintains a low profile. Probably, this is the reason why little is known about this prominent Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh. His nomination has been welcomed not just by the BJP and its allies but also some Opposition parties including BSP, BJD and JD(U). The Opposition parties are reportedly planning to put up a joint candidate against Kovind in the Presidential election. However, with the kind of the numbers BJP and its allies enjoy in the Parliament and state assemblies, Kovind’s election is all but certain.
Here we take a look at the man who looks all set to be President of India:
1. Ram Nath Kovind wanted to visit the Retreat Building, part of the presidential estate, during a trip to Shimla with his family late last month but was denied entry.
2. Born on October 1, 1945 at Kanpur (rural) in Uttar Pradesh, Ram Nath Kovind served Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993.
3. Kovind practiced in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years until 1993. He had studied commerce and law at Kanpur University.
4. Kovind has served as Member of Board of Management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow and also as a Member of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
5. Kovind has fought for the Rights and Cause of Weaker Sections of the Society specially Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ OBC/Minority/Land Women from his student days.
6. Kovind joined the movement of SC/ST employees against the Central Government when in 1997 some orders were issued by the Centre which adversely affected the interests of employees of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes. Kovind succeeded in getting those Government orders declared null and void by the passage of three Amendments in the Constitution of India during the first NDA regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
7. As a Rajya Sabha MP, Kovind helped in construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand under MPLAD scheme.
8. As an advocate, Kovind took a lead in providing free legal aid to weaker sections of society, specially SC/ST women, needy and the poor under the aegis of “Free Legal Aid Society” in Delhi.
9. When elected, Kovind will become the first full-time President from Uttar Pradesh. Last time someone occupied the Raisina Hills in Delhi from the state was Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah as acting President.
10. A former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha (1998-2002), Kovind has also served as a national spokesperson of the party. He was also the president of the All-India Koli Samaj.