Who is Ram Nath Kovind
He first stepped into politics in 1994 when he was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh
Ram Nath Kovind, who was voted in as India’s 14th President on Thursday, was a lawyer who practised in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for 16 years.
The Dalit leader first stepped into politics in 1994 when he was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh. He served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March, 2006. He represented India in the United Nations in New York and addressed United Nations General Assembly in October, 2002.
During his parliamentary tenure, Mr. Kovind emphasised on development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas and helped in the construction of school buildings in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand under MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme. He has served as a member of several parliamentary committees, including the Parliamentary Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Parliamentary Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, among others.
Mr. Kovind served as a member of the Board of Management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
India’s 14th President gets 65.6% of votes to beat joint Opposition candidate Meira Kumar
Ram Nath Kovind was on Thursday declared elected as India’s 14th President polling 65.6% of the vote defeating the Opposition’s joint candidate, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who secured 34% of the vote.
Mr. Kovind will be the second Dalit President of India after late President K.R. Narayanan but, more significantly, the first from politically significant Uttar Pradesh and the first person from the BJP to hold the office of President since Independence.
Speaking to the press after returning officer for the poll, Anoop Mishra, declared him elected, Mr. Kovind said it was an “emotional moment” for him.
“I never dreamed of this position nor was it a goal. My election to this post is a message to all those who discharge their duties with honesty and integrity,” he said, promising to uphold the Constitution of India and follow the policy of Sarve Bhavantu Sukheenaha or peace and prosperity to all.
The voting for the poll had been held on Monday, and counting began in Parliament House on Thursday morning continuing up to early evening.
The total number of MPs and MLAs who cast their votes was 4851, bearing a combined value of 1090300. However, with 77 votes being declared invalid — 21 from Parliament alone — the total number of valid votes was 4774, bearing a combined value of 1069358. Mr. Kovind polled 2930 of these votes — bearing a value of 702044 — and Ms. Kumar 1844 votes — with a value of 367314.
Highest vote value
The value of each vote of an MP was 708. Among the States, each vote in Uttar Pradesh had the highest value of 208, while each vote from Sikkim had the lowest value of seven. Mr. Kovind got the highest number of votes – 335 – from U.P. and the lowest – just 1 – from Kerala.
Ms. Kumar secured the highest number of votes – 273 – from West Bengal and drew a blank in Andhra Pradesh.
The polling was marked by cross-voting in various States where many Opposition members favoured Mr. Kovind.
According to figures available, cross-voting took place in Gujarat, Tripura, Goa, Delhi and Maharashtra in favour of Mr. Kovind. As many as 11 Congress MLAs appeared to have voted for Mr. Kovind in Gujarat, a State which is to go for Assembly polls at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to wish the President-elect, tweeting out pictures taken 20 years ago at a wedding in Mr. Kovind’s family and a more recent one with Mr. Kovind and his family at the prime ministerial residence, 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. Mr. Modi also praised Ms. Kumar for her campaign which was in the “spirit of democratic ethos, and values” which “we are all very proud of.”