It’s a hits as a severe slap on the face of this 70 year old democracy when a Presidential candidate is repeatedly referred to as ‘the Dalit candidate’; it gets worse when the next contemplated candidate presented to contest this leader is another ‘Dalit’ – as though no other qualification in any of the candidates matters, but the caste. And here I was priding myself being the citizen of one of the most progressive and youngest countries, unaware that we are still carrying the corpse of an ancient mindset.
Anyway, if you are done googling Ram Nath Kovind’s caste, here are some more important and relevant facts about the man.
1. Born in Paraukh Kanpur in 1945, Kovind is a married to retired government employee, Smt Savita Kovind, and his family is complete with a son, Shri Prashant Kumar, and daughter, Smt Swati.
2. Ram Nath Kovind, an advocate by profession, after practicing at Delhi high court from 1977 to 1979, went on to be a member of the Central Government Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court for the next 13 years.
3. He was a member of several vital Parliamentary Committees including Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of SC/ ST, Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, Parliamentary Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas, Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice and Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs.
4. From 1998 to 2002, the Bihar Governor presided over the BJP Dalit Morcha and has also served as the national spokesperson of his party.
5. The NDA candidate has experience representing India at the United Nations and has addressed the general assembly in October 2002.
6. The two-time MP of Rajya Sabha failed to get through the civil services examination twice. He did succeed on a third attempt, but he chose not to join as he wasn’t selected for IAS, but allied service.
7. For the uninitiated ones, Prime Minister Modi took to twitter and introduced his Presidential nominee in a series of tweets that read,
“Shri Ram Nath Kovind, a farmer’s son, comes from a humble background. He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor & marginalised”
“With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Shri Kovind’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation.”
“I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised.”
8. Being the President of All India Koli Samaj, the 71 year old leader has donated his ancestral house in Kanpur to the village; the abode has come to be known as ‘Barat Ghar’.
9. Ram Nath Kovind’s political career commenced long before he joined the Bhartiya Janata Party. He was Private Secretary to Prime Minister Morarji Desai way back in 1977
10. Uttar Pradesh has given 9 Prime Ministers to the nation. But if Kovind wins, he will be the state’s first ‘Presidential’ contribution to the country.