India is set to welcome its 14th President on 25 July, with President-elect Ram Nath Kovind swearing in to the highest office in the world’s largest democracy. Kovind – the NDA’s presidential nominee – defeated the Opposition’s pick to the post, Meira Kumar on 20 July.
The former Bihar governor, who won a little over 65 percent votes, is India’s second Dalit president after KR Narayanan.
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What do we know about our new President? Quite a lot, in fact.
Kovind, the Lawyer
Our 14th President began his legal career in 1971, and worked as an advocate for the central government in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. During his 16-year stint as a lawyer, Kovind practised in both the Delhi HC and the Supreme Court.
As an advocate, Kovind took the lead in providing free legal aid to weaker sections of society, especially SC/ST women, and disadvantaged girls under the aegis of the Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi.
Kovind’s Political Trajectory
Kovind was elected as a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. He served two consecutive terms for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006.
Kovind joined a protest by SC/ST employees when in 1997 certain orders were issued by the Centre which adversely affected their interests. These orders were later declared null and void after the passage of three amendments in the Constitution during the rule of the first NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
During his stint as a parliamentarian, Kovind emphasised the need for infrastructure development and rural education. He helped build schools in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, according to a report by The Hindu.
India’s 14th president, who belongs to the Koli community, has served as the president of the BJP Dalit Morcha and the chief of the All-India Koli Samaj.
The “RSS loyalist” was appointed the BJP national spokesperson in 2010, during Nitin Gadkari’s tenure as BJP chief, as per a report by the Asian Age. Kovind has represented India at the United Nations and has addressed the UN General Assembly in 2002. He has also served in various parliamentary committees in various capacities.
Kovind was appointed the Bihar Governor by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015.
Positions Ram Nath Kovind Has Held Over the Years
1971-1975: General Secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj
1977-1979: Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court
1982-1984: Central Government Junior Counsel in Supreme Court
1986: General Secretary of the Depressed Classes Legal Aid Bureau
1994-2000: Elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh
1995-1996: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Communications
1995-1997: Member, Committee on Home Affairs
1996-1999: Member, Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
1996-1999: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Railways
1997: Member, BJP National Executive Committee
1998-2000 & 2002-2004: Member, Committee on Petroleum and Chemicals
1998-2000 & 2002-2004: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Civil Aviation
1999-2002: National President, BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha
2000-2006: Elected to the Rajya Sabha for 2nd Term from Uttar Pradesh
2000-2004: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
2000-2002: Member, Committee on Petitions
2002 -2004: Chairman, House Committee, Rajya Sabha
2002-2004: Member, General Purposes Committee
2002: Member, Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata
2003: Member, Board of Management of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow
2015: Governor of Bihar
2017: President of India
(With inputs from Factly)