New Delhi: Born on October 1, 1945, Ram Nath Kovind is the current Governor of Bihar. He is a Dalit (low-caste) leader and a veteran politician from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was elected to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) from Uttar Pradesh (UP) during the two terms of 1994-2000 and 2000-2006.
He is a former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha (1998-2002) and President of All-India Koli Samaj. He also served as national spokesperson of the party. On August 8, 2015, the President of India appointed him Governor of Bihar.
After graduating in law from a Kanpur college, Kovind went to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination. He failed to pass it twice but made it in his third attempt. He, however, did not join as he was selected for an allied service instead of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and thus started practising law.
Kovind is an advocate by profession and practices in Delhi. He was central government advocate in Delhi High Court (HC) from 1977 to 1979 and central government standing counsel in Supreme Court (SC) from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He practised in Delhi HC and SC for about 16 years till 1993. He has served as a member in many important Parliamentary committees, including those on welfare of scheduled castes/tribes, home affairs, petroleum and natural gas, social justice and empowerment and law and justice. He was also chairman of Rajya Sabha House Committee.
He belongs to Dalit community ‘Koli’ and has worked extensively in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar before being elevated as Bihar Governor. He worked as a top aide to former Prime Minister Morarji Desai and has represented India at the United Nations in New York.
Kovind served as a member of the Board of Management of Dr BR Ambedkar University, Lucknow. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
During his parliamentary tenure, Kovind stressed on development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas. He helped in the construction of school buildings in UP and Uttrakhand under Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme.
Kovind’s Dalit credentials are greatly valued by the BJP. In UP, he is seen as BJP’s potential counter to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati. In 2012 UP state elections, BJP leader Rajnath Singh had taken help of Kovind during his campaign in Dalit areas.