Ram Nath Kovind
Head shot of Kovind smiling. He is wearing a blue suit jacket.
Official portrait, 2017
14th President of India
In office
25 July 2017 – 25 July 2022
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Vice President
Preceded byPranab Mukherjee
Succeeded byDroupadi Murmu
26th Governor of Bihar
In office
16 August 2015 – 21 June 2017
Chief MinisterNitish Kumar
Preceded byKeshari Nath Tripathi
Succeeded byKeshari Nath Tripathi
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
3 April 1994 – 2 April 2006
Preceded bySubramanian Swamy
Succeeded byVinay Katiyar
ConstituencyUttar Pradesh
Personal details
Born (1945-10-01) 1 October 1945 (age 77)
Paraunkh, United Provinces, British India
(present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party
Spouse
(m. 1974)
Children2
Parents
  • Maikulal (father)
  • Kalawati (mother)
Residence(s)12 Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi, India[1]
Alma materKanpur University (B.Com., LL.B.)
Occupation
  • Politician
  • lawyer
Signature

Ram Nath Kovind (pronunciation ; born 1 October 1945) is an Indian politician who served as the 14th President of India from 2017 to 2022. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is the second person after K. R. Narayanan, from the Dalit community to occupy the post. Prior to his presidency, he served as the 26th Governor of Bihar from 2015 to 2017[2][3] and as a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 2006. Before entering politics, he was a lawyer for 16 years and practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India until 1993.[4]

Early life and education

Ram Nath Kovind was born in the Koli family of Maiku Lal and Kalawati during the British Raj on 1 October 1945, in Paraunkh village in the Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh,[5][6] as the youngest of five brothers and two sisters.[7][8] His father Maikulal ran a shop and was also a farmer and a local vaidya.[9] His mother Kalawati was a homemaker.[10] Kovind was born in a mud hut, which eventually collapsed.[11][12][13] He was only five when his mother died of burns when their thatched dwelling caught fire. Kovind later donated the land to the community.[14]

After his elementary school education, he needed to walk each day to Kanpur village, 8 km (5.0 mi) away, to attend junior school, as nobody in the village had a bicycle.[15] He holds a bachelor's degree in commerce and an LLB from DAV College (affiliated with Kanpur University).[16][17][18]

Early career

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Former MP Kovind at a function with Prime Minister Narendra Modi opening a bridge in Bihar, 2016.
Former MP Kovind at a function with Prime Minister Narendra Modi opening a bridge in Bihar, 2016.

Advocate

After graduating in law from DAV College, Kanpur, Kovind went to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He passed this exam on his third attempt, He scored high enough to work in an allied service rather than in IAS and thus started practising law.[19]

Kovind enrolled as an advocate in 1971 with the bar council of Delhi. He was Central Government Advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. Between 1977 and 1978, he also served as the personal assistant of Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai.[20] In 1978, he became an advocate-on-record of the Supreme Court of India and served as a standing counsel for the central government in the Supreme Court of India from 1980 to 1993. He practised in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court until 1993. As an advocate, he provided pro-bono aid to weaker sections of society, women and the poor under the Free Legal Aid Society of New Delhi.[16]

Start of political career

He joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1991.[20] He was the president of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002 and the president of the All-India Koli Samaj.[when?] He also served as the national spokesperson of the party.[when?][21][failed verification] He donated his ancestral home in Paraunkh to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.[20] Soon after joining the BJP, he contested Ghatampur assembly constituency, but lost and later contested Bhognipur in 2007 elections (both in Uttar Pradesh) assembly constituency on the BJP ticket but lost again.[22]

In 1997, Kovind, being from koli family, joined the protest against certain orders from the central government that had adverse effects on the SC/ST workers. Later, three amendments were made to the Constitution that revoked the orders, by the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.[23]

Rajya Sabha

He was elected and became a Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh in April 1994. He served a total of twelve years, two consecutive terms, until March 2006. As a member of parliament, he served on the Parliamentary Committee for Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Home Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Social Justice and Empowerment, Law and Justice.[citation needed] He also served as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha House Committee. During his career as a parliamentarian, under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, he focused on education in rural areas by helping in the construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. As a member of parliament, he visited Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States on study tours.[17][citation needed]

Other appointments

He has served on the Board of management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow,[when?] and on the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta.[when?] He has also represented India at the UN and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October 2002.[24]

Governor of Bihar (2015–2017)

On 8 August 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee appointed Kovind as the governor of Bihar.[25] On 16 August 2015, the acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Iqbal Ahmad Ansari, administered the oath to Kovind as the 26th governor of Bihar, in a ceremony at Raj Bhawan in Patna.[26]

Governor Ram Nath Kovind of Bihar welcomed President Pranab Mukherjee at Patna on 17 April 2017
Governor Ram Nath Kovind of Bihar welcomed President Pranab Mukherjee at Patna on 17 April 2017

Kovind's appointment was criticised by then Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar as it came months before 2015 state Assembly elections and the appointment was made without consulting the state government as recommended by Sarkaria Commission.[27] However, Kovind's term as the governor was praised for constituting a judicial commission to investigate irregularities in promotion of undeserving teachers, mismanagement of funds and appointment of undeserving candidates in universities.[20] In June 2017, when he was announced as a candidate for presidential election, Nitish Kumar backed his choice and praised him as being unbiased and working closely with the state government during his governorship.[28]

Presidential election

Main article: 2017 Indian presidential election

After nomination for the post of 14th president of India, he resigned from his post as the governor of Bihar, and the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, accepted his resignation on 20 June 2017.[29] He won the election on 20 July 2017.[30]

Kovind received 65.65% of the valid votes, against former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar, the presidential candidate of the Opposition who received 34.35%. Kovind received 2,930 votes (From MPs and MLAs) amounting to Electoral College votes of 702,044 (65.65%) as compared to 1,844 votes with a value of 367,314 (34.35%) votes for Meira Kumar lagging far behind with 367,314 votes, and 77 votes were invalid.[31] He became only the second Dalit representative to become president after K. R. Narayanan, and also is the first BJP candidate with RSS background to be elected to the post.[32] The tally of votes (367,314) polled by Meira Kumar is only the second-highest for a losing candidate, that of Neelam Sanjiva Reddy in the 1969 presidential elections being the highest ever; he received 405,427 votes as against 420,077 by V. V. Giri, the winner.

President Kovind with Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik at Biju Patnaik International Airport
The President Ram Nath Kovind attending the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Completion of 60 Years of ‘Vidhana Soudha’, at Karnataka Legislative Assembly in Bangalore, alongside the Governor of Karnataka.
The President Ram Nath Kovind attending the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Completion of 60 Years of ‘Vidhana Soudha’, at Karnataka Legislative Assembly in Bangalore, alongside the Governor of Karnataka.
J. S. Khehar, Chief Justice of India, administering the oath of the office of the President-elect Kovind, at a swearing-in ceremony in the central hall of Parliament, in New Delhi in 2017.
J. S. Khehar, Chief Justice of India, administering the oath of the office of the President-elect Kovind, at a swearing-in ceremony in the central hall of Parliament, in New Delhi in 2017.
President Ram Nath Kovind with Dipak Misra after administering his oath as the Chief Justice of India on 28 August 2017
President Ram Nath Kovind with Dipak Misra after administering his oath as the Chief Justice of India on 28 August 2017

Presidency (2017–2022)

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Main article: Presidency of Ram Nath Kovind

Kovind took the oath as the 14th president of India on 25 July 2017.[33] He was succeeded by Droupadi Murmu on 25 July 2022.

Personal life

President Kovind with his wife First Lady Savita Kovind
President Kovind with his wife First Lady Savita Kovind

Kovind married Savita on 30 May 1974. They have a son, Prashant Kumar, and a daughter, Swati who is an air hostess for Air India.[18][34]

Politicial positions

In 2010, he was reported to have said that "Islam and Christianity are alien to the nation" as spokesperson of the BJP.[35][36] As reported by IANS and published by Hindustan Times, he made this comment in response to the Ranganath Misra Commission which recommended 15 percent reservation for religious and linguistic minorities in government jobs.[37] Although more recently, the issue was raised in the media if whether or not he was misquoted and that he in fact said "Islam and Christianity are alien to the notion (of caste)" as opposed to what was reported as 'nation'.[38][39]

Criticisms

Kovind has been criticized to maintain silence in the face of crimes against his own Dalit community[40] and to support the government over the CAA protests, farmer agitation and the removal or abrogation of Article 370.[41]

State honours

Decoration Country Date Note Ref.
MDG National Order - Grand Cross 2nd Class BAR.png
National Order of Madagascar
 Madagascar 14 March 2018 The highest civilian honour of Madagascar; in the category of Grand Cross 2nd Class, the highest class that may be bestowed upon foreign dignitaries. [42]
Ordine dell
Order of Independence
 Equatorial Guinea 8 April 2018 Degree of Collar. [43]
The Royal Order of King Sobhuza II. Sash.gif
Order of the Lion
 Eswatini 9 April 2018 The highest civilian honour of Eswatini [44]
Ribbon of an order of king Tomislav.png
Grand Order of King Tomislav
 Croatia 26 March 2019 The highest civilian honour of Croatia [45]
BOL Order of Condor of the Andes - Grand Cross BAR.png
Order of the Condor of the Andes
 Bolivia 26 March 2019 Grand Collar, The highest civilian honour of Bolivia. [46]
National Order of Merit - Grand Cross (Guinea).png
National Order of Merit
 Guinea 3 August 2019 Grand Cross The highest civilian honour of Guinea. [47]

See also

References

  1. ^ "A post-Presidential life: Sprawling 12 Janpath bungalow, pension of Rs 1.5 lakh and free travel for life awaits Ram Nath Kovind". Firstpost. 25 July 2022. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Press Releases Detail – The President of India". presidentofindia.nic.in. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017.
  3. ^ Ram Nath Kovind resigns as Bihar Governor (20 June 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind resigns as Bihar Governor". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is NDA nominee for President". The Hindu. The Hindu. 19 June 2017. Archived from the original on 24 June 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Profile of the President". presidentofindia.nic.in. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Kovind: A choice thrown up by Dalit Hindutva interface". The New Indian Express. p. Ram Nath Kovind is a Koli Dalit from UP and a lawyer by training. He signifies the aspirational non-Jatav Dalit middle class that was not too enamoured nor overwhelmed by the anti-Hindutva Ambedkarite outlook seen in the Hindi heartland in the mid-1980s. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  7. ^ Rashid, Omar (20 June 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind, Paraukh and the road to Raisina Hill". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  8. ^ "President Ram Nath Kovind is Simple And Soft-spoken in Personal Life". India.com. 25 July 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  9. ^ "From farmer's son to President, Ram Nath Kovind's story is a case of Dalit empowerment". dailyo. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  10. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind Biography". jagranjosh. 25 January 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  11. ^ "कानपुर से ग्राउंड रिपोर्ट : रामनाथ कोविंद के गांव में जश्न, लोग गा रहे हैं- मेरे बाबा की भई सरकार". Archived from the original on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  12. ^ Hebbar, Nistula (20 July 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind's long journey to Raisina Hill". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  13. ^ Mohan, Archis (21 July 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind's journey from mud house to Rashtrapati Bhavan". Business Standard India. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind's journey from a leaking mud-house to the palatial Rashtrapati Bhavan". India Today. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  15. ^ Tiwari, Vaibhav (20 June 2017). "NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind would walk 8 km daily for school". India.com. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  16. ^ a b PTI (19 June 2017). "Ram Nath Kovind: A crusader for the rights of weaker sections". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind: 10 facts about NDA's Presidential nominee – Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Governor of Bihar". governor.bih.nic.in. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  19. ^ PTI (19 June 2017). "What you should know about BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind". Archived from the original on 18 July 2017 – via The Economic Times.
  20. ^ a b c d "Ram Nath Kovind, a lawyer who cracked civils but lost 2 elections – Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 18 July 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Enact tougher laws to prevent crimes against dalits". The Hindu. 19 January 2003. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  22. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind, a lawyer who cracked civils but lost 2 elections". Times of India. 20 June 2017. Archived from the original on 18 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind is BJP's choice for president: All you need to know about the Dalit leader from UP". Firstpost. 20 July 2017. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Ramnath Kovind Profile". Outlook. 19 June 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  25. ^ PTI (8 August 2015). "Ram Nath Kovind, Acharya Dev Vrat appointed as Bihar and Himachal Pradesh governors". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017.
  26. ^ "36th Governor of Bihar". indiatoday. 16 August 2015. Archived from the original on 17 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  27. ^ PTI (19 August 2015). "PM Modi praises new Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind". Archived from the original on 27 August 2017 – via India TV News.
  28. ^ IANS (19 June 2017). "Presidential Election 2017: Nitish Kumar praises Ram Nath Kovind, remains mum on party support". Archived from the original on 29 July 2017 – via First Post.
  29. ^ "Resignation as Governor of Bihar". firstpost. 20 August 2015. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  30. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th President of India". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  31. ^ "With 65 percent votes, Kovind sweeps elections". Times of India. 21 July 2017. Archived from the original on 21 July 2017.
  32. ^ "Kovind first President from Sangh, cross-voting boosts margin". Times of India. 21 July 2017. Archived from the original on 23 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  33. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind takes oath as India's 14th President". indtoday.com. 25 July 2017. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  34. ^ "President's Daughter Moved To Ground Duties at Air India For Security Reasons". NDTV.com. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Why is India's next president so unknown?". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  36. ^ "When NDA Presidential pick Kovind said Islam, Christianity are alien to India". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  37. ^ "Islam, Christianity alien, so cannot get quota: BJP". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  38. ^ "Ram Nath Kovind's 'Islam, Christianity' statement triggers nation vs notion row". Hindustan Times. 27 June 2017. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  39. ^ "ईसाइयों और मुसलमानों पर कोविन्द के चौंकाने वाले विचार". Chhattisgarh Khabar. 20 June 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  40. ^ Raha, Shuma (22 July 2022). "As India's President, Ram Nath Kovind's Legacy Was One of 'Unflinching' Silence". thequint.com. The Quint. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  41. ^ Anand, Prakriti (17 February 2022). "Tracing the legacy of Ram Nath Kovind, the 14th President of India". dhaaramagazine.in. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  42. ^ "Press Release on State Visit of President to Madagascar (March 14-15, 2018)". Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  43. ^ "India-Equatorial Guinea Joint Statement during the State Visit of President of India to Equatorial Guinea". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  44. ^ "India-Swaziland Joint Statement during State Visit of President to Swaziland (April 9-10, 2018)". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  45. ^ "Press Statement by President during State Visit to Croatia". Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  46. ^ "Press Statement by President during State Visit to Bolivia". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  47. ^ "President Ram Nath Kovind honoured with Guinea's highest award". India Today. 4 August 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
Rajya Sabha Preceded bySubramanian Swamy Member of Parliament for Uttar Pradesh 1994–2006 Succeeded byVinay Katiyar Government offices Preceded byKeshari Nath Tripathi Governor of Bihar 2015–2017 Succeeded byKeshari Nath Tripathi Party political offices Preceded byP. A. Sangma National Democratic Alliance nominee for President of India 2017 Succeeded byDroupadi Murmu Political offices Preceded byPranab Mukherjee President of India 2017–2022 Succeeded byDroupadi Murmu