Presidential Election 2017: BJP president Amit Shah today announced that Bihar governor and senior BJP leader Ram Nath Kovind would be the Presidential candidate of the BJP-led ruling NDA at the centre.The announcement came as a surprise as several other names were doing the rounds. Coming from a modest family in Uttar Pradesh, Kovind has donned several roles in public life.
Kovind was born on October 1, 1945 at Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh. He was married to Savita Kovind on 30th May, 1974. Kovind has a son, Prashant Kumar, who is married, and a daughter Swati. Kovind, a B.Com, LLB from Kanpur University (Uttar Pradesh) has been a very successful lawyer. He was Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993, according to his profile on the Bihar governor’s website. Kovind became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He had practiced in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years until 1993.
Kovind was elected to Rajya Sabha in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March, 2006. In Parliament, Kovind served as member of several important Parliamentary Committees such as: Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, Parliamentary Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas, Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice, Chairman of Rajya Sabha House Committee.
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. Kovind also represented India in the United Nations and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October, 2002. As a member of Parliament, Kovind visited Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom and USA on Study Tour.
The NDA candidate has been known as a crusader for the Rights and Cause of Weaker Sections of the Society specially Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ OBC/Minority/Land Women from his student days.
Kovind had 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 consequently 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.
Kovind is also known as a pioneer in spreading education. During his parliamentary tenure of 12 years, Kovind 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 MPLAD scheme. 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.
By announcing Kovind’s name, BJP appears to have made a political masterstroke as not many parties would like to would the low-profile Dalit leader, who has been extremely successful in public life.