Ram Nath Kovind is an Indian Politician, and the 14th President of India. He succeed the 13th president, Pranab Mukherjee, on July 25, 2017. Before his election to the highest office of the country, Kovind served as the Governor of Bihar (a state in India) since 16 August 2015. He was the presidential candidate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). An advocate by profession, he has been active in politics for several decades. After earning his a LLB from Kanpur University, he practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1991. A 'Dalit' hailing from the 'Scheduled Caste', he belongs to a community that has been historically oppressed in India and is thus well aware of the struggles that people belonging to such communities face. For four years he served as the President of the BJP Dalit Morcha and has also provided free legal aid to the weaker sections of the society. He became a Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh in April 1994 and served in this position for 12 years. Over the course of his political career, he focused on education in rural areas and has served on the Board of management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Ram Nath Kovind was born on 1 October 1945 in Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh, India, to Maiku Lal and Kalawati Devi. His father was a farmer, and their family was a humble one. Their family belonged to the Dalit community, a historically oppressed group in India.
Not much is known about his early years or schooling. After completing his high school education, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in commerce before completing his LLB from Kanpur University.
He aspired to be an IAS officer and moved to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He cleared the coveted examination on his third attempt but was not selected for IAS and instead chosen for an allied service. He decided not to join and thus started practicing law.
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Ram Nath Kovind’s legal career proved to be a successful one. In 1971, he was also enrolled as an advocate with the bar council of Delhi. He served as a Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979, before serving as a Central Government standing counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993.
Meanwhile in 1978, he became an advocate-on-record of the Supreme Court of India. Around this time, he also served as the personal assistant of the then-Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai (1977-78).
Hailing from the Dalit community, Kovind felt strongly about social justice issues. A crusader for the rights and cause of weaker sections of the society from his student days, he provided free legal aid to the oppressed sections of society, especially the women and the underprivileged, under the Free Legal Aid Society in New Delhi.
His high-prolife legal career brought him in contact with several politicians, and he himself ventured into the field in 1991 by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In April 1994 he was elected as a Rajya Sabha MP from the state of Uttar Pradesh. He proved to be quite popular in this position and served for a total of 12 years till March 2006.
In 1997, Kovind joined the SC/ST employees' movement against the central government to protest against some government orders. These orders were later termed null and void through the passage of three amendments to the Constitution.
As a strong advocate for Dalit rights, he served as the President of the BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002. Around this time he was also made the President of the All-India Koli Samaj. He served as national spokesperson of the party as well.
He held several portfolios as a member of parliament and served on the Parliamentary Committee for Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Home Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Law and Justice.
Along with social justice, he was very passionate about providing better educational facilities to children in rural areas. He helped in the construction of schools in the rural areas in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand under the M.P.L.A.D. Scheme. He also visited Nepal, Thailand, Pakistan, Germany, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and USA on study tours.
Alongside his political career, Kovind has also served on the Board of Management of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Lucknow, and was a member on the Board of Governors of IIM Kolkata. In 2002, he represented India at the UN and addressed the United Nations General Assembly.
His illustrious career as a politician touched newer heights when in August 2015, the President of India appointed him the Governor of Bihar. Once again the determined politician proved his mettle by constituting a judicial commission to investigate appointment of undeserving candidates in universities, irregularities in the promotion of unfit teachers, and the mismanagement of funds.
14th President of India
Ram Nath Kovind was picked as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the position of the 14th President of India on June 19, 2017. After his nomination to contest for India's top-most position, he resigned as Governor of Bihar.
On July 20, 2017, he was declared the 14th President of India. He defeated opposition's joint candidate, Meira Kumar. He took the oath of office on July 25, 2017.
Ram Nath Kovind is well-known as a crusader for the rights of the underprivileged sections of the society, especially Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ OBC, minority communities, and poor women. Not only has he served as a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, but has also provided free legal services to the needy and weaker sections under the aegis of Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ram Nath Kovind married Savita Kovind on May 30, 1974. They have two children - a son, Prashant, and a daughter, Swati.
This popular BJP politician is known for donating his ancestral home in Derapur to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS.)