‘RSS Loyalist’ Who Helped SC/ST Women: Meet India’s New President

A former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha, Ram Nath Kovind has also served as BJP’s national spokesperson.

3 min read

Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th President of India.

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.

Click here for all the live updates on the Presidents Swearing-In Ceremony.

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.

Who is Ram Nath Kovind? Data compiled from Factly.
Who is Ram Nath Kovind? Data compiled from Factly.
(Photo: The Quint)

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)

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