The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday announced that Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind would be the party’s candidate for president. If elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit president after KR Narayanan. The 71-year-old joined politics in 1994.
The presidential election will be held on July 17 and votes will be counted on July 20.
A quick look at Kovind’s background
Kovind completed his bachelors degree in commerce and then went on to study law from Kanpur University. He was a Central government advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and then a Central Government Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became the Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court in 1978.
A Dalit BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh, Kovind is a two-time member of Rajya Sabha and the former national spokesperson of the party. He became a Rajya Sabha MP in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served two consecutive terms for 12 years till March 2006.
Kovind had headed the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha between 1999 and 2002. During this period, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the BJP’s general secretary. Kovind has also been a member of several parliamentary committees.
Kovind had campaigned in Dalit areas of Uttar Pradesh to counter Mayawati in the 2012 Assembly elections and is considered to be close to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Kovind was the president of the All India Koli Samaj, an organisation that represents the interests of the Koli community, which is classified as scheduled caste in Uttar Pradesh.
Kovind has served as a board member of Dr BR Ambedkar University in Lucknow. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata. He had represented India in United Nations.
Kovind’s name was in the news in 2015 when he was appointed the Bihar governor. However, it became a controversy because the Nitish Kumar-led state government had allegedly found out about his appointment to the post from the media. Kumar had then accused the Centre of violating Constitutional norms.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad had also condemned Kovind’s appointment and had said that he would register his protest with the president as Kovind belongs to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.