Ram Nath Kovind, Governor of Bihar, is the NDA government’s nominee in the Presidential election 2017. This was announced by party president Amit Shah in a press conference on Monday. The decision was taken after a BJP Parliamentary Board meeting. The party’s parliamentary board met on Monday to discuss the names for the election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the meeting, and BJP national president Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj Nitin Gadkari were among those in attendance. 70-year-old Kovind is a Dalit leader from Kanpur. A two-time member of Rajya Sabha and former national spokesperson for the party, Kovind headed the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha between 1999 and 2002. The voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20, four days before current President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. While BJP hopes for consensus on its Presidential candidate pick, here are 5 reasons why Ram Nath Kovind was selected:
1. A Dalit leader who fought for the cause of SC/ST: Kovind, had been a crusader for the Rights and Cause of Weaker Sections of the Society especially Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ OBC/Minority/Land Women from his student days. In the year 1997, some Government Orders were issued by the Central Government which adversely affected the interests of employees of the Scheduled Castes/Tribes. Shri Ram Nath Kovind joined the movement of SC/ST employees against the Central Government and consequently succeeded in getting those Government Orders null and void by the passage of three Amendments in the Constitution of India during the first NDA regime.
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2. Held important positions:
a) Ram Nath Kovind, served as Member of Board of Management of Dr B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow.
b) He also served as Member of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
c) He represented India in United Nations (New York) and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.
d) Visited Thailand. Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom and the USA on Study Tour as Member of Parliament.
3. Served as a Parliamentarian: Ram Nath Kovind was elected and became as Rajya Sabha MP in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years until March 2006. Shri Kovind served as Member on important Parliamentary Committees including Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Home Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Social Justice and Empowerment, Law and Justice and Chairman of Rajya Sabha House Committee.
4. Has been a highly respected Advocate: Ram Nath Kovind, was the Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. Had practised in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years till 1993. He was enrolled as an Advocate in 1971 with the Bar Council of Delhi.
5. Clean image, with no case of corruption: Kovind, former President of the BJP Dalit Morcha has held a clean record and image and his work has spoken volumes. During his parliamentary tenure of 12 years, he emphasised on the development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas, and during his Advocacy tenure, he took a leading role in providing free legal aid to the weaker sections of society, especially SC/ST women. These cases have earned him huge respect in the political circles in India.