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It is undisputable that a person associated with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has reached the country’s highest office for the first time. In such a situation, it is natural for those who do not agree with the ideology of the Sangh to be apprehensive. But I believe that Ram Nath Kovind should not be judged on this criterion only. Take a look at his perception and action so far which do not reflect hard line of the RSS ideology.
His entire work style seems to me to be very inclusive. Just recall the events of August 2015! When he was made governor of Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar had declared a war against him because Kovindji had a stamp of the RSS. Nitish was afraid that Kovindji would be used as a tool of the central government to destabilise his government or create trouble. But what happened? After completing the tenure of one year and 10 months as the governor, when Kovindji’s candidature was announced for the post of President in 2017, Nitish Kumar supported Kovindji bypassing his coalition. That is because Kovindji did not become the handmaid, but he played a major role in taking Bihar on the path of development!
Actually this is the speciality of Kovindji. He is not exactly the hardliner. He understands that after reaching the constitutional position, a person does not belong to any party or any particular ideology, but belongs to the whole country. His conduct should never be partisan. Atal Behari Vajpayee too hailed from the Sangh, but he was accepted by all because he gave the country prime importance. Although Sudarshanji, the then head of the RSS was upset with him, Atalji never cared about it. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is remembered with respect as vice president, because he took care of the constitutional post more than the party. It is a different matter that in our country there are leaders like Sumitra Mahajan also; she is holding as crucial a constitutional position as speaker of Lok Sabha but her behaviour is not in line with the dignity and fairness of that post. Her unilateral attitude is clearly visible in the conduct of the Lok Sabha. She seems to have greater love for her party than the country. There is no harm in saying Sumitra Mahajan is a rubber stamp speaker. Her only concern seems to be to keep her party protected in the Lok Sabha. I believe that Kovindji will never become a rubber stamp like Sumitra Mahajan. You must remember that people had the same perception about Giani Zail Singh that he would become rubber stamp but he proved their impression wrong.
I know Kovindji for more than a decade and a half. I have worked with him in the Rajya Sabha for a long time. As the chairman of the Rajya Sabha Housing Committee, he had allocated the house off Lodhi Road to me. The chairman of housing committee has great powers because right from allocation of the bungalow to every member of the Rajya Sabha to the maintenance of the bungalow and all the other needs are fulfilled only through the chairman of the committee. It is natural for people occupying this post to become arrogant, but I have never seen any trace of arrogance in Kovindji’s personality. He also visited my house and there has been friendship between us. When he became the governor of Bihar, he called and invited me to tour Bihar but I could not go. Whenever we got the chance, we have met each other. I have observed his personality and activities very closely.
I would like to specifically say that despite belonging to Dalit community, he has never indulged in any such dalit politics as Mayawati or other leaders have been practising. He never used the Dalit card for the benefit of himself or his party. Rather I always felt that he has been fighting for the common man irrespective of their class or community. His style of work shows that he is a social and progressive person. This is the reason that he was also a lawyer for the Government of India in the Supreme Court during the Congress tenure. You can also imagine the social ideology of Kovindji that from 1977 to 1978 he was also Personal Assistant to the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
For many, Ram Nath Kovind’s name is absolutely new. Many people were surprised when his name was announced for the post of President. But Kovindji’s name was never unknown in political circles. Since he works silently and has never hogged headlines, he may not have become popular like the other politicians. He always focused on his responsibilities and work. His style of going to the root of any subject has always kept him on the path of progress. Today his reward is before the whole country. Because of his commitment, Narendra Modi considered him worthy of the Presidential position.
It seems that the way Pranabda has maintained the dignity of the Presidential post, the dignity of the post has enhanced. Like him, Kovindji will also leave his impression. On many issues, Pranabda has differed with Narendra Modi but he has never been publicly critical of him. Pranabda always appreciated the style of working of Narendra Modi because he thought that this man is doing something. Now Ram Nath Kovind will be in that chair and he will face the challenges of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Within the Rashtrapati Bhavan there is a lot of politics. Officers are transferred arbitrarily. There is much more in politics there. As a skilled administrator, Pranabda had curbed politics within the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Kovindji will now face this challenge. I hope that he will be successful here too. He is now the first citizen of the country. The people of such a big country are looking forward to him with great expectation and hope. Of course, he will succeed in fulfilling his constitutional obligations. As President, he is also the commander-in-chief of the three forces of our country. He is the head of the judiciary. I hope that his soft skills will further strengthen India’s relationship with the world, because anyone who meets Kovindji becomes his fan.
For a person born in a cottage, this journey to the Rashtrapati Bhavan is certainly unforgettable and inspiring for all of us.
Many congratulations, Kovindji!
Before I conclude
Indian woman cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur has done amazing thing! She scored 171 runs in 115 balls! What a great score! But this achievement is not just another event. This performance has given an important message that our daughters are not inferior in any way. They have proved to be the best in studies, and even in the field of sports, they are successful in breaking the domination of men. The wave of enthusiasm generated by the scintillating performance of Mary Kom in boxing, Gita Phogat, Babita Phogat in wrestling, P V Sindhu in badminton, Sakshi Malik in wrestling and Deepa Karmakar in gymnastics is amazing!