New Delhi: The BJP sprung a surprise on Monday when it announced Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind's name as its nominee for the presidential elections on July 17.
But those who have known for long say his diligence and hard work make him a stand out candidate for India’s top post. In an exclusive chat with News 18, his elder brother Ram Swaroop Bharti gave us a sneak peek into his early life.
Kovind is the youngest among five brothers. His father used to run a small shop and the family was dependent on that income. Due to severe financial constraints, he used to walk to school every day, said his brother. In that tender age, Kovind also started taking tuition classes to bear the expenses of his studies.
Despite facing hardships early in life, he did not give up. He earned a scholarship and moved to Kanpur to study law. He also worked as a stenographer in a court to be able to study further.
After completing studies, he tried his luck in UPSC examinations and even cleared it on his third attempt. However, he did not take up the job as it was an allied service and not one of the three main branches. “Who knew destiny had planned something so big for him,” said Ram Swaroop.
Kovind’s life took a turn when he came in contact with Morarji Desai. He was appointed his OSD when Desai took charge as the Prime Minister.
He joined the BJP in 1977, but continued practicing law. He is also part of a group of lawyers who fight cases of those who cannot afford big lawyers of the Supreme Court.
Kovind became a Rajya Sabha MP in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March 2006. 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. His appointment as the Bihar Governor was also seen as an attempt to sway votes in the next assembly election.
Interestingly, Kovind loves to meditate and has practiced Vipassana meditation. Vipassana in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality, namely as the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering or un-satisfaction, and the realisation of non-self. His elder brother has taught him how to meditate.
While talking to ETV, Ram Swaroop said this is the beauty of India's democracy, even the smallest person can reach the peak.
Pinning hopes on his younger brother and BJP's pick for the highest constitutional post in the country, he said that if Kovind gets the chance, he would become a successful President because he knows how to walk together with the people. He respects people's sentiments and their pain.