The highlighted fact about the Dalit status of Ram Nath Kovind claimed how his election would be symbolic ‘boost’for PM Narendra Modi, who is trying to ‘woo Dalit voters.’ Taking into account the recent alleged rise of attacks against Dalits and pointed out that Kovind would be the first President close to the RSS.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, “National Volunteer Organisation” or “National Patriotic Organisation”, is an Indian right-wing ,Hindu nationalist ,paramilitary volunteer organisation that is widely regarded as the parent organisation of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party.The RSS is one of the principal organizations of the Sangh Parivar group.
Ram Nath Kovind was born in Paraukh, a village of 12,000 people in Kanpur Dehat, on October 1, 1945. His father, Maikulal, was a landless Dalit from the weaver community who ran a small grocery to support his family of 10, including five sons and three daughters. The mud hut where Kovind was born has been donated to the village. In its place now stands a community centre. He doesn’t own any land in the village. Kovnd is a father a son, Prashant Kumar and daughter,Swati.
The temple bells haven’t stopped ringing in Paraukh village for the last 72 hours. The compound that shares its wall with the village school is teeming with people who have come to listen to the Akhand Ramayan that is being recited non-stop by a motley group of men.
It will continue till July 25, the day when India’s 14th President will be sworn in. Son of the soil, Ram Nath Kovind’s elevation is a foregone conclusion. But no one in his village wants to take a chance. In his 26-year-career, Kovind has fought two elections and lost both.
“We have great faith in Goddess Patthari Devi. We are appeasing her to ensure nothing goes wrong this time,” says Sonu Chavan,23-years-old and unemployed, is the lead singer in the bhajan mandali. His latest composition, which he belts out at the arrival of every visiting media team, is an ode to the Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ram Nath Kovind’s ascent to the highest public office will be the first for a leader reared in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or National Volunteers’ Association, the ideological mentor of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates.
Kovind would be the first Indian leader close to “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, that provides the BJP ‘spiritual and philosophical’ guidance.”
Kovind’s election is “being seen as a way for Mr Modi to gain political capital among the Dalit community, who number around 200 million in the nation of 1.3 billion, and are relegated to the margins of society.
Kovind is a “low-profile politician better known for working behind the scenes, belongs to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.”
A low-caste candidate handpicked by the Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to emerge as India’s new president and seal the grip of Hindu nationalists on power.” Kovind has “Hindu nationalist roots.” The bid to catapult Kovind to the nation’s top office is regarded an astute move by the BJP, which repeatedly points to his credentials as a symbol of the country’s low castes.
Ram Nath Kovind will possibly be the second Dalit president after KR Narayanan. However, when it comes to hardcore Dalit politics in the country, the ground reality is very different from the tokenism of having a Dalit president, who is sure to toe the Centre’s line on Hindutva and caste politics.
Unlike the Congress Party whose grassroots units have whittled away, the RSS is the dedicated workforce of the BJP. Whenever the RSS have worked in tandem with the BJP, the latter has won elections.
While deep grievances of the Dalits and OBCs are shaping the various Dalit movements, such as led by Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat, or by the Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh, they have very little to do with a presidential pick in Kovind, who would never challenge the entrenched caste hierarchies that inform and inculcate the Sangh.
The Dalits en masse are likely to reject Kovind as a symbol of Dalit emancipation, and this might lead to a newly energised Dalit movement all across India, eschewing established but now discredited leaders such as Mayawati.
The country will soon have the PM, President, and vice-president, all from the RSS stables, an extraordinary achievement for the religious far Right.
M Venkaiah Naidu is most likely to be the next vice-president of India. In fact, the Union minister filed his nomination on Tuesday. Flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, party veteran LK Advani and other senior BJP leaders, Naidu thanked AIADMK leader M Thambidurai for his support.
Venkaiah Naidu born ,1 July 1949, is an Indian politician and the NDA candidate for the post of Vice President of India (July 2017). He served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi ministry.
A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party,he has also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
In the 1970s,Venkaiah Naidu was a rare politician in Andhra Pradesh politics. He was a member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), when in southern India the Jana Sangh was perceived as primarily north India based, a Brahmin-Baniya party with no rural roots and a party that talked of Hindi’s superiority over other regional languages.
Naidu was a student leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’ students wing, took part in the anti-Emergency ‘JP movement’ and was imprisoned during the Emergency years. In 1978, Naidu was elected a Janata Party legislator. He joined BJP when it was founded in April 1980, rising to be the youngest national president of the party at the age of 52 in 2002.
Naidu lost his mother when he was barely 18-months old. She was gored by a buffalo. He was raised by his relatives, but says he considered his party his mother and devoted all his waking hours to party work. Neither of his two children are in politics, according to a pact between the father and them that they would stay away as long as he is in active politics. So rare were his visits home as party president that one of his grandchildren would refer to him as “TV dada”, since she got to see him more often on television.
Naidu has emerged as one of the foremost admirers of the PM and has coined the phrase “MODI: Making of Developed India”. Naidu “wept inconsolably” yesterday at a meeting of the BJP’s top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the decision to name him for vice president was finalised.
“He broke down and said the party is like his mother, it would be difficult for him to leave the BJP after so many decades,” said sources close to the 68-year-old.
As he sobbed, senior leaders like Finance Minister Arun Jaitley went to him, consoled him and steadied him, the sources said.
The good news, however, is that Rajya Sabha might just become funnier. Five years of Venkaiah-isms, alliterations and witticisms await 245 members of the Upper House and all of us.
This eulogy aside, Naidu is known to be indefatigable and affable, two qualities that should help him meet the challenge that his party would continue to face in Rajya Sabha.
Naidu explained why he was in tears at the parliamentary board meeting. “I lost my mother at a very young age of one year and six months. Then I treated my party as my mother and they have really brought me up to this level. It is very painful to leave the party… That’s why I became a little emotional,” he told reporters.
Sources say he was approached at least a week ago by BJP president Amit Shah with the suggestion but apparently, his heart was not in it. “He said he wanted to be with PM Modi at least till 2019 and then explore sanyaas from politics,” say sources.
Mr Shah told the veteran politician that he was the choice of most in the BJP and RSS (the party’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). The Prime Minister too was not ready to let go of him but had to be persuaded, the BJP chief counseled Mr Naidu.
This morning, when Mr Naidu filed his nomination papers, it was in the reassuring presence of top leaders including PM Modi and several ministers and allies.
BJP party is trying hard to make inroads in regions beyond Karnataka. Naidu, one of the senior most BJP leader and the Union minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, is from Andhra Pradesh and had been based in Hyderabad. His elevation can emotionally appeal to people in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
In fact, with Naidu’s nomination, BJP has got the regional balance right, presidential nominee from north India and vice-president from south.