While former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is the BJP-led NDA's nominee for the presidential election 2017, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is the opposition's pick.
All eyes will be in the Capital over the next few days as parliamentarians vote to elect the 14th President of India on Monday. While former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is the BJP-led NDA's nominee for the presidential election 2017, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is the opposition's pick.
While the votes in the presidential race will be counted on July 20, the next President will assume office only after President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24.
It appears a Dalit vs Dalit battle for the prestigious post which may have a bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Both Kovind and Kumar are political veterans, but Kumar edges over the former in terms of Parliamentary experience. For starters, Kumar is the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha.
Who is Ram Nath Kovind?
#The 71-year-old Dalit leader has been serving as the Governor of Bihar since August 2015.
#Kovind hails from Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh and completed his B.Com, L.L.B. from Kanpur University (Uttar Pradesh).
#Ram Nath Kovind has served as a Rajya Sabha member twice between 1994-2000 and 2000-2006 from Uttar Pradesh.
#He has served as the former president of the BJP Dalit Morcha and the president of the All-India Koli Samaj.
#Kovind has served as a member of several parliamentary committees including Welfare of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, Home Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment. He has also been the chairman of the Rajya Sabha House Committee.
#His appointment as the Governor of Bihar in 2015 was met with fierce opposition from the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav owing to his past association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
#Kovind had practiced in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for almost 16 years until 1993.
#During the 2012 Uttar Pradesh elections, Kovind had campaigned in Dalit areas. His face was used by Rajnath Singh to counter Mayawati.
#He served as the personal secretary of Morarji Desai in the 1977 Janata Party-led government. He has been close to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Who is Meira Kumar?
#Kumar was born in 1945 in Patna, Bihar. She holds an MA and LLB degrees alongwith an advanced diploma in Spanish.
#A Dalit to take on Dalit: Meira, like Kovind, belongs to the scheduled caste. She is the daughter of former deputy prime minister late Jagjivan Ram, a Dalit leader.
#In 1973, Kumar joined the Indian Foreign Service. She has also worked at High Commission of India in London and with the Ministry of External Affairs during 19980-1985.
#In 1985, she was elected to the Lok Sabha.
#Kumar was the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha and a five time Lok Sabha member of parliament (MP). She served as the speaker from 2009 to 2014.
#Kumar, a member of Congress, has also served as a Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from 2004-2009.
#Besides politics, Kumar actively works for social reforms and human rights.
#On the personal front, Kumar is married to Manjul Kumar, a lawyer, and has four children.
#Meira Kumar has said that Presidential election is a battle of ideology and declared that she is fighting for the rights of the poor.
Here's how the President is elected:
There are 4,896 legislators in the electoral college which elects the president. It comprises of 776 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members along with 4,120 MLAs.The president poll has a total of 11,04,546 votes with the BJP-led NDA’s tally currently standing at about 5.38 lakh votes.
The presidential poll has a total of 11,04,546 votes with the BJP-led NDA’s tally currently standing at about 5.38 lakh votes.
While the BJP is the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and rules more states than any other party, its candidate is not guaranteed to win and it will need the help of a neutral party like the AIADMK.