Ramnath Kovind would win the race to the Raisina was foretold, given NDA’s strength in the Electoral College numerically. The 71-year-old became the 14th President of India after receiving around 66% of the total vote share. He will take up his seat following the oath which is scheduled to take place on July 25, 2017.
Among many other things, this particular election was a strong message sent out by the BJP which asserted the dominance of the Sangh Parivar on the political scenario of the country- where in all the top posts in the country are held by leaders of the BJP.
The election sends out a message of Dalit empowerment and why not. Dalits, after all, make up for 20% of India’s 1.2 billion population and have a major say in the political proceedings of the country. That Kovind’s rise to the most monumental post of India comes at a very crucial time is also not hidden. Indo-Pak relations are at an all-time low, and the geopolitical scenario of Europe and Asia is evolving rapidly. India stands at the juncture of these changes, and we needed someone who could stand taller than the political system and exercise a President’s basic Constitutional powers.
The Bihar Governor, in particular, was perhaps BJP’s best bet and now that he is about to take office, let’s know a few things about him. Further, we’ll discuss what Kovind’s priorities should be once he enters the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
A Dalit Leader Who Has Represented the SC/ST
“There would be many Ramnath Kovinds today, getting drenched in the rain…sweating it out for their evening meals. I want to tell them that this Ramnath Kovind is going to Rashtrapati Bhawan as their representative”, said an ecstatic Kovind upon his victory. In fact, this is something that has highlighted him all throughout his distinguished political career. He has been a crusader, a messiah for the backward minorities of the country for more than two decades now. The most prominent memories of him were of 1997 when he along with other SC/ST employees joined the movement against the central government for the passing of a particular bill that affected the backward classes adversely.
(Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times)
Rajya Sabha MP for Two Terms
Apart from being PS to then President Morarji Desai, Kovind has been a Parliamentarian for 12 long years. His tenure under Desai gave him an enormous insight on the daily proceedings of a President. His time as an MP exposed him to the functioning of the Parliament. He is a veteran who has been in the system and hence understands the way things should work.
(Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times)
Indian Ambassador to UN
Not only did he represent the country at United Nations in New York but also addressed the United Nations General Assembly in October 2002. This implies that the man set to be the next Indian President holds an experience of representing the country on an international stage as well.
(Image Courtesy: Your fortune)
What Should Kovind’s Priorities Be?
Well, this is an interesting and an equally difficult time to be India’s President. There are concerns that India’s first single-party majority government in more than three decades could have an adverse impact on Indian polity- vis a vis, the judiciary. Then there are trepidations that a majoritarian triumphalism could leave certain parts of India’s minority- especially the Muslims, on edge. As of now, everything seems to be resting on a fulcrum and Kovind has to ensure that the political button among India’s premier institutions and its population be reset so that a better future can be ensured for the citizens.
It will be President Kovind’s responsibility to be vigilant and responsible for the Constitution and preserving its core values. He has to be more than just a President; he has to be a moral presence that can connect various masses of India’s population and assure them their basic Constitutional rights. He must use everything that he has at his disposal- a signal, a nudge, and a cautionary notice- well. Congratulations, Mr. President.