NDA’s Presidential Candidate: Ram Nath Kovind a Dalit Crusader

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Amit Shah, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party announced Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA’s candidate for the upcoming presidential elections July 2017.

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Who is Ram Nath Kovind? Here’s all you need to know about him:

71 year old a lawyer- turned- politician Ram Nath Kovind, whose choice as the BJP-led NDA’s presidential candidate is being seen as a political masterstroke.

The reason many parties would not like to oppose a dalit being elected to the country’s highest office because:-

 

  1. A champion of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, OBC, minority and women’s rights from his student days, Kovind is the present Governor of Bihar.

  2. A former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha (1998-2002), Kovind has also served as a national spokesperson of the party. He was also the president of the All-India Koli Samaj.

  3. Kovind became an Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He practised in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for about 16 years until 1993.

  4. In Parliament, Kovind was a member of many important committees, especially the parliamentary committee on the welfare of scheduled castes/tribes, the parliamentary panel on social justice and empowerment and the committee on law and justice.

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As an advocate, Kovind took the lead in providing free legal aid to weaker sections, especially the SC/ST women, and poor and needy girls under the supervision of free legal aid society. MR. Kovind is also known for his work in the field of education. He has served as member on the board of the Dr. BR Ambedkar Uniersity, Lucknow. He was also a member of the board of governors of the Institute Of Management, Kolkata.

Kovind has always been a low-profile leader. He was not even among the names doing the rounds for the presidency.  Interestingly, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he wanted to contest from Orai (SC) but he did not get a ticket. He was a little annoyed and the party then appointed him governor of Bihar, and with the announcement of his candidature, the BJP’s worries ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls are quite clear: with Mulayam-Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Sonia Gandhi’s Congress clearly showing an inclination to fight the elections jointly, the BJP knows such a coalition may weaken its prospects in UP. With BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Adityanath already wooing Dalits, Kovind’s elevation is expected to give the party’s fortunes a further boost.

Led by Amit Shah, BJP is undoubtedly witnessing its most glorious time, as the party currently has over 280 MPs in the Lok Sabha, 56 MPs in Rajya Sabha and a whopping 1382 MLAs in total in Legislative Assemblies. With the formidable presence, the total of party’s electoral votes, along with allies, sums up to around 5,24,920 (Data: Hindustan Times) – only 24, 522 short of what is required.

For the marginal electoral gap, the party may turn up to a number of options available. While BSP and Odisha-based BJD have already announced their support, JD(U) might also extend its support. The party may also seek help from AIADMK or DMK – parties dominating Tamil Nadu. BJP is not aligned with any of them yet.

 

 

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