Ram Nath Kovind has been announced as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidential nominee by the party president Amit Shah on Monday. The decision to pick the Bihar Governor came out after a nearly two-hour meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board which was held this morning, following which Shah declared the candidate for the post of president from his party. With the Opposition yet to name its candidate in the Presidential election 2017, the next few days will indicate how well his candidature has been received by all. “I hope all will agree to the name,” Shah said at a press conference as reported by PTI. Ram Nath Kovind has been away from the spotlight and is known to avoid controversies, here are 5 incidents where Kovind hit the headlines in recent times:
1. The President of India, on 8 August 2015 appointed Kovind as the Governor of Bihar. He had replaced West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi who was holding the additional charge of Bihar. The Telegraph reported that Kovind’s sudden appointment led to political strife within the Nitish Kumar government making it clear they were not ecstatic about his appointment, while the BJP hailed the arrival of the ‘Dalit governor’. RJD chief Lalu Prasad condemned Kovind’s appointment as he belonged to the RSS.
2. Ram Nath Kovind was known as the one who canceled the law degree of former Delhi Law Minister and AAP MLA Jitender Singh Tomar. The decision to cancel the degree of former Delhi Minister was taken by Senate members of the University. Chancellor and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind had authorised the University Senate, highest decision making body of the university, to take a decision on law degree of the former Delhi minister after University’s Examination board had on September 21 last year sent a recommendation to him in this regard. As per the reports by PTI, the controversy relates to the acquisition of Law degree by Tomar on the basis of a doubtful enrolment at Biswanath Law College in Munger in the academic session 1994-95.
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3. Yet in another clash with Nitish Kumar government, on November 26, 2016, Ramnath Kovind, as the Bihar Governor, had returned the proposed Lokayukta Amendment bill for reconsideration to both Houses of Bihar Legislature for want of the mentioning of a time frame within which the process of selection of the Lokayukta and its members was to be completed. According to the reports by PTI, the Governor mentioned that in the proposed ‘Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016, no time frame has been stipulated within which the process of selection of a successor of the office is to be completed.’ Kovind returned the bill and said, “The proposed ‘Bihar Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2016’ be returned with a request that both the Houses of the Legislature will re-consider the aforesaid bill as suggested above.”
4. The former President of the BJP Dalit Morcha and President of the All-India Koli Samaj, Kovind, sought tougher laws to curb the growing incidents of atrocities on Dalits. On January 19, 2003, The Hindu quoted that at a press conference he said that though the laws including the SC and ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act and the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act were a deterrent to perpetrators of crimes, new laws were required to prevent recurring atrocities, particularly against women and children. At that point of time, he did not agree with the view that the increasing atrocities on Dalits was one of the main reasons for their religious conversion. On the charges of misuse of the Atrocities (Prevention) Act for settling personal scores, Kovind said there was some truth in the charges, and said the aberrations could be overcome only through a massive awareness campaign by government agencies.
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5 Ram Nath Kovind, who is a politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party, was born on October 1, 1945, hails from Village Paraunkh, Kanpur Dehat in Uttar Pradesh. He is a Dalit leader. After serving as the former President of the BJP Dalit Morcha from 1998 to 2002, Ram Nath Kovind also was the President of the All-India Koli Samaj. He was also the national spokesperson of BJP, but he was hardly ever seen on TV even as he was the party’s national spokesperson. Kovind during his parliamentary tenure of 12 years, emphasized on the development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas by helping in construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand under M.P. L.A.D. Scheme, as reported by Deccan Herald.
Voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20, four days before Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23. Meanwhile, Shah said that PM Narendra Modi has already spoken to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over this. However, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has assured that a decision would be taken after thorough discussions.