Our time has come: Ram Nath Kovind’s village Paraunkh in UP
NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind is pitted against opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a five-time MP from Bihar, ex-Lok Sabha speaker and daughter of prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ramindia Updated: Jul 18, 2017 13:36 IST
Dreams have taken wings in Paraunkh, the ancestral village of BJP‘s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district.
‘Just let him become the President’, proud villagers say, eagerly awaiting “their time” in history.
Paraunkh erupted in joy after Kovind was named the ruling side’s candidate for the country’s top post. Diwali, usually celebrated in October-November, had advanced, as sweets were distributed, crackers were burst and temples were lit.
Special prayers are still held at the revered Pathri Devi temple for his hassle-free victory.
Kovind is pitted against opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a five-time MP from Bihar, ex-Lok Sabha speaker and daughter of prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram. On Monday, legislators from across the country will line up to vote for either of them. The majority is expected to side with Kovind.
And once that happens, this little-known village of around 9,000 people will shoot to stardom.
|Dr. Rajendra Prasad||507,400|
|Thatte Lakshman Ganesh||2,672|
|Chowdhry Hari Ram||1,954|
|Krishna Kumar Chatterjee||533|
|Dr. Rajendra Prasad||459,698|
|Chowdhry Hari Ram||2,672|
|Nagendra Narayan Das||2,000|
|Candidate Name||Votes||Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan||553,067||Chowdhry Hari Ram/t6,341||Yamuna Prasad Trisulia||3,537|
|Yamuna Prasad Trisulla||232|
|Bhamburkar Shriniwas Gopal||232|
|Krishna Kumar Chatterjee||125|
|Kumar Kamla Singh||125|
|Dr. M.C. Davar||0|
|Chowdhry Hari Ram||0|
|Dr. Man Singh Ahluwalia||0|
|Seetharamaiah Ramaswamy Sharma Hoysala||0|
|Varahagiri Venkata Giri (INDEPENDENT)||401,515 / 420,077|
|Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy (INDEPENDENT)||313,548 / 405,427|
|Rajabhoj Pandurang Nathuji||831|
|Babu Lal Mag||576|
|Chowdhry Hari Ram||125|
|Sharma Manovihari Anirudh||125|
|Krishna Kumar Chatterjee||0|
|Santosh Singh Kachhwaha||0|
|Dr. Ramdular Tripathi Chakor||0|
|Shri Ramanlal Prushottam Vyas||0|
|Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (INC)||754,113|
|Tridib Chaudhuri (INDEPENDENT)||189,196|
|Neelam Sanjiva Reddy||Won unopposed*|
|Zail Singh||Indian National Congress||754,113|
|R. Venkataraman||Indian National Congress||740,148|
|V. R. Krishna Iyer||Independent||281,550|
|Shankar Dayal Sharma||Indian Nationlal Congress||675,864|
|K.R. Narayanan||Indian National Congress||956,290|
|Kaka Joginder Singh a.k.a. Dharti Pakad||Independent||1,135|
|Pratibha Patil||Indian National Congress||638,116|
|Bhairon Singh Shekhawat||Independent||331,306|
|Pranabh Mukherjee||Indian National Congress/UPA||713,763|
“I cannot describe the feeling,” says Shiv Swaroop, a farmer. “It just tickles each one of us. It is going to be our identity for next the five years.”
Kovind, like his deeply religious father Maikoo Lal who ran a small grocery shop in the village, was a devotee of the goddess Pathri Devi. After leaving Paraunkh when 13, he went on to study law in Kanpur and practice in Delhi high court and Supreme Court.
He later joined BJP and unsuccessfully contested for assembly elections twice and Lok Sabha from Ghatampur, but was elected Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh in 1994 and went on to serve two consecutive terms.
Paraunkh saw the first signs of development then. All roads were made concrete; Kovind opened a college, and donated his ancestral house which was turned into a Milan (marriage) centre.
“Ours was just an ordinary village with no streets, college, school or doctor,” recalls Vijay Pal Singh, a childhood friend. ”He alone looked into our issues.”
The possibility of miraculous makeover in the next five years is rife in the village. The district panchayat has decided to open a primary health centre here. Earlier, the nearest was in Derapur, eight km away. Kanpur Dehat authorities have begun work on four tubewells, the first ones in the village.
“See, he hasn’t become the president and the works have begun. Imagine what will happen to all of us when he becomes the President,” beams Vijay Pal Singh, hinting at the big hopes people have.
Jaswant Singh, another childhood friend with whom Kovind used to fight a lot, eat sattu together and walk eight kilometres to Khapur, says they will submit a detailed proposal on “what should be done to make Paraunkh a happening village”.
“There will be industries and the young will have jobs,” he announces proudly, sitting on a plastic chair surrounded by people on charpoys. “Just let him become the President.”
Ganga Prasad, who lives in a thatched house, believes like many others, he too would get a new house under the government’s scheme and there would be toilets for them.
“I hear they are going to build new houses for the poor and new toilets. I won’t have travel to the fields for the purpose. And the village will have a proper drainage system,” he hopes.
“We knew our time has come,” says Chandrakli, the village headwoman. “Each household celebrated his ascension. He is our pride. He will remain so.”