May 27, 2018, 11:06 pm IST
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The quiet activist

The quiet activist

 Jun 23, 2017

A Graduate in commerce and law from Kanpur University, Ram Nath Kovind, the Bihar Governor and National Democratic Alliance nominee for the post of President, was born on October 1, 1945 at Kanpur Dehat in Uttar Pradesh.
He started his career as a lawyer when he enrolled with the Delhi Bar Council in 1971 and served as the Central Government’s counsel in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. Between 1980 and 1993 he was among the Central Government’s Standing counsels in the Supreme Court.
His active political career began in 1994 when he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and served for two consecutive terms of 12 years from 1994. During this time he was able to make many visits to countries like the US, Britain France, Thailand, Nepal and Pakistan.
He was also member of many key parliamentary committees, like those for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, on Home Affairs, of Petroleum and Natural Gas, for Social Justice and Empowerment, for Law and Justice. He also served as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha House Committee.

Apart from these positions he also held such critical posts as member of the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Lucknow and he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata. During this time when other nominees seemed to be fighting with the opposition-led state governments, Kovind got along very well with the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar. During his stint in Bihar he had got along cordially with all parties and there had never been any occasion for a clash. Even the Congress leader, Mr. Ashok Choudhry, who meets him frequently, had only good words for him.
Dr. Kovind represented India at the United Nations and addressed the UN Assembly Session in October 1982.
Earlier, as president of the Dalit Morcha he had been a relentless crusader for the rights of the weaker sections, including the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, women, the other backward castes and minorities. He had been fighting their causes from his student days. As a member of the Koli (weaver) community, his advocacy of the rights of that community is also well known. He was also president of the All India Koli Samaj.He joined the movement of the SC and ST employees against certain Central Government orders passed in 1997 that adversely affected their interests and succeeded in getting the Government to declare these orders null and void by passing three amendments to the Constitution. This he did during the first NDA tenure.
As Rajya Sabha member he worked for designing the basic infrastructure for education in the rural areas by constructing school buildings in the Uttarkhand reagion with the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme funds. During his stint as advocate also he took a leading role in providing free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections, especially women, the needy under ‘Free Legal Society’ of Delhi.
Of his lending a helping hand quietly, the BJP spokesman, Mr. Bizay Sonkar Shastri, has an incident tr narrate. When he was struggling to bring out his magazine the Dalit Andolan Patrika in 2008, Mr. Kovind, coming to know of this, thrust a piece of paper into his pocket. That was a cheque for Rs. 10,000 and he made him promise not to reveal it to anybody.
If he is elected to this highest post it would be setting many firsts. He would be the first person to be elected President from Uttar Pradesh, the state that has contributed more Prime Ministers than any other state. It would also be the first time a Bhartiya Janata Party member would be occupying that post.




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