It was a rather interesting phenomenon since the counting started for the Presidential elections. Almost one in every 3 people was asking who is this ‘Ramnath Kovind.’ That’s exactly how low profile this Presidential Candidate was. While many political observers termed his win and his selection as a political masterstroke by the BJP and the Modi-Shah combine, for the average people, it symbolised the victory of middle-class aspirations.
Ramnath Kovind’s rise is rather interesting. In fact if you had asked anyone just a month back, the ignorance about the man and his achievement was astounding. He maintained such a low profile that it almost came as a shock that he has served as a Governor in one of India’s most volatile states Bihar and was also a senior BJP leader.
His genuineness and selfless service can be gauged from the fact that he has even won the trust and good will of hard core opposition leaders like Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar. The amount of cross-voting and the poor numbers that the opposition candidate amassed proves for itself the kind of fan-following and respect Kovind commands in the political circles.
Born on October 1, 1945, Kovind had a rather humble upbringing in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh. In fact his father had to sell a piece of land to fund his education and Kovind went on to become a lawyer and even cleared the IAS after three attempts. He left the Civil service as he did not get the desired rank and pursued his legal practice. Kovind served as an Advocate for the Central Government in Delhi High Court between 1977-1979 and the Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He practised law in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for a good 16 years till 1993.
In 1994, Kovind was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh and that marked the beginning of his illustrious political career. He served 2 consecutive terms of Rajya Sabha till 2006. He is known as a crusader working towards the cause of Weaker Sections of the Society especially Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/OBC/Minority/Land Women.
Perhaps Kovind does not have the charisma of Advani or the oratory skills of Vajpayee or even the leadership abilities that make Modi stand apart, but he is a diligent associate of the party and a silent worker. His nomination and victory are not just about Dalits getting recognition or the rise of a man from thatched mud hut to the plush presidential residence. It is about recognising the honest effort of a genuine political worker, a reiteration of the fact that hard-work pays and realisation of the middle-class aspiration to be part of the change.