KOLLAM, KERALA: recently, President Ram Nath Kovind had to brave a steady drizzle and kept standing when the national anthem was being played while taking the salute by the Army on his arrival on a day-long visit to attend a function at the Mata Amritanandamayi Math.
Though an official offered him an umbrella, he did not accept it and kept standing in the rain to take the salute. Earlier in the day, President Kovind arrived in Kollam on his maiden visit to Kerala after becoming president, and launched a Rs.– 100 crore initiative of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math to provide clean water to rural India at the math headquarters at nearby Vallikkavu.
A function was organised on the occasion in connection with the 64th birthday celebrations of spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who received the president on his arrival at the Air Force Technical Area of the airport at Thiruvananthapuram.
Being dalit was not the only qualification which made Ram Nath Kovind the NDA pick for the post of the President. His association with the Sangh Pariwar and its associated bodies goes a long way. So much so that old timers say that he must have heard the slogan ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ much before the present crop of saffron leaders brought it back into the circulation.
Kovind has been an active member of RSS per se, he has always been ideologically on the same boat, his close acquaintance preferring anonymity said. He though joined the BJP in 1990 and unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha election from Ghatampur constituency, his contacts with senior functionaries of RSS grew stronger after his association with Divya Prem Mission.
Previously he had served as the Governor of Bihar from 2015 to 2017 and was a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 2006. Kovind was nominated as a presidential candidate by the ruling NDA coalition and won the 2017 presidential election, becoming the second Dalit to be elected to the post of President.
Before entering politics, he was a lawyer for 16 years and practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court until 1993