The Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance on June 19, 2017 announced Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential nominee for the 2017 presidential elections. Ram Nath Kovind is the current governor of Bihar and he resigned from that post to file his nomination for the presidential elections. Meira Kumar, Congress leader, was named opposition’s nominee led by Congress and 17 other parties would challenge Kovind for the post of president. The elections will be held on July 17, 2017 and voting would take place on July 20. The term of current president Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24, 2017.
The nomination of Kovind and his victory are foregone conclusions. Kovind has the numbers and he is likely to get 62 per cent electoral college vote (electoral college comprises of all elected MPs and MLAs of 29 states and seven union territories) to get him through. BJP received a boost when Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar lent his support to Kovind, despite being in opposition and parties like AIADMK, TRS, BJD, YSR Congress are already in agreement to support Kovind. Meira Kumar faces a tough challenge and is just standing just for the sake of it and tokenism.
More than just a Dalit
Ram Nath Kovind would become the 14th president of Republic of India and he ticks all the requirements and criteria for the coveted job. Kovind’s caste as a Dalit has been mentioned a lot and opposition have said that only because of his caste he has been nominated, but there is more to it than just Kovind being a Dalit. The NDA nominee is a seasoned lawyer, who has practiced in Supreme Court, has been two term Rajya Sabha MP (from 1994 to 2006) and has a blemish free record in public life. Kovind, if selected would become only the second Dalit president after KR Narayanan (1997-2002). The integrity and character of Kovind can’t be questioned and opposition by selecting Meira Kumar have made this election caste centric.
Meira Kumar had the honour of becoming the first woman speaker of India’s lower house i.e. Lok Sabha and performed her duties par excellence. Meira Kumar is the daughter of late Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jag Jivan Ram and has excellent academia credentials. The fight for the top job would be a defeat for Meira Kumar, but it is heartening to see that two deserving and impeccable individuals are contesting for the prestigious post of president.
No mean task
Will Kovind be his own man or just be a rubber stamp president? The question is demeaning to the post of president and in Indian Republic, executive power lies with Prime Minister and his council of ministers. The president according to Indian constitution works on the advice of elected prime minister and his council of ministers. The president though plays an important role maintaining the sovereignty and fabric structure of India. He is also the supreme commander of forces and is the constitutional head of country.
India, being a plural and diverse country needs a people’s president like late APJ Abdul Kalam. Kalam inspired so many people and left a huge impression, when his term came to an end. Kovind is a soft spoken, educated, rational individual and his job would be to unite all sections of society in these turbulent times and push for India’s development. The constant reminder that Kovind has been selected only because of his caste is doing great disservice to the 71-year-old and it’s high time that India looks beyond caste and creed and rather focuses on qualification and what Kovind brings to the table.
Kovind in most probability would become the 14th president of India and Meira Kumar by standing against him has once again proved that it is triumph of Indian democracy.
Do you think Ram Nath Kovind is the right choice to become the next President of India?