In a battle between two Dalits for the supreme post of the Republic, NDA candidate Ram Nath kovind, emerging victorious with a spectacular majority wasn’t unexpected.
Given that the BJP nominee- who has a fierce majority and a clear supremacy in majority of the assemblies- had secured the support of coalition parties besides the BJP, Kovind was certain to become the President. When Nitish Kumar, the chief architect of the ‘Mahadagbandhan’ in Bihar and Janata Dal (U) leader changed sides unexpectedly, even if the remaining opposition parties tried hard to pull it off, it was certain that Kovind’s majority couldn’t be outshined. When the results were out, a Sangh Parivar supporter catapulted to Raisina Hill has become a reality. Kovind who served as the president of BJP Dalit Morcha for four years, Bihar Governor for almost two years and a two-time Rajya Sabha MP of the BJP, had proved his utmost loyalty towards the Sangh Parivar all these years. A son of an ordinary farmer who cleared the Civil Service Examination in his third attempt, Kovind had wanted to practice as a lawyer in Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court. The fact that he was actively involved in the welfare and development of his own caste, other Dalit communities and backward classes whenever he was a member of the Parliament, gained him acceptance. However, due to his beliefs rooted in hardcore Hindutwa ideology, he openly opposed reservation for Christians and Muslims, the equally backward and minority communities. The reason he cited was the RSS belief, that the two religions were ‘alien to the nation’. The backdrop of Narendra Modi Amit Shah duo prepping to launch someone who is widely acceptable to the saffron group, who would do a hundred per cent justice to the goals he took over, to the post of the President in the very first and foremost opportunity available, is unambiguous and transparent.
Given that the powers of the President are merely ceremonial and that it isn’t permitted by the Constitution to excise it independently, no erstwhile Presidents have been able to overcome the intentions of the Centre and the state governments. At the same time, personalities who displayed the audacity to question the decisions of the ruling government as well as point towards the right direction based on their consciousness and conviction, have also found place in the history of the country’s Presidents. The first Dalit President K R Narayanan is an instance. There were incidents when Narayanan who directed the Vajpayee government to suppress the Gujarat riots, returned more than one controversial Bill without signing them. It was an example of the fact that a President could prove he wasn’t a mere rubberstamp. When selfless and unbiased advocates of secular democracy warn about India rapidly moving towards a stage where the nation could be deemed to be in complete control of the RSS, Ram Nath Kovind’s Presidential post reinforces these apprehensions once again. The ‘responsible’ leaders of the ruling coalition parties had demanded to declare cow as the national animal and to give death penalty or life sentences to those who slaughter cows. These demands are most likely to be presented as Bills, passed and sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan for approval. The trend of appointing Sangh Parivar campaigners or supporters to most of the positions in the government machinery is feverishly progressing. Since the approval of Rashtrapati Bhavan is required for many of these procedures, Modi-Shahi team wants to make sure that no opposing voices are heard raised. In that case, they have found as well as appointed the most apt person.
But the truth that the President is the foremost guardian of the Indian Constitution that’s rooted in secularism, democracy and diversity. Given that frantic attempts are being carried out to decimate the existing diversities and multiplicities and to impose a single-faceted culture in its place, the President who takes the oath of office is responsible for ensuring the survival of all sections of the society, communities, cultures, beliefs and customs equally in order to curb those efforts. Let Ram Nath Kovind be able to display a neutral stance and a just approach to preserve and safeguard the peculiar character of a secular, multi-religion and multi-culture nation of India, without considering the past or the allegiances to the present dispensation. This is what the Indians coming up to 125 crore desire. Let Kovind who is known for his politeness, simplicity and for being an advocate of the downtrodden, rise up to the expectations of the people.