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Holi and Diwali in Paraunkh as Ram Nath Kovind’s village celebrates his election win

For many in the village with a population of around 9,000, Kovind’s victory was a promise for a brighter future.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2017 19:24 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Paranukh
‪‪Ram Nath Kovind‬,‪President of India‬,‪India‬
Villagers at Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind's village Paraunkhdera Pur in Kanpur Dehat on Monday. (PTI)

A wave of joy swept across Paraunkh village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district on Thursday evening as local boy Ram Nath Kovind won the election to become the next President of India.

Local residents burst firecrackers and a DJ, hired from Kanpur, played loud music as people danced and chanted “Jai Shri Ram”. Many pulled their neighbours into hugs and distributed sweets. A ‘Bhangra band’ with dhols led the way.

The Dalit community that lives at the farthest corner of the village also made arrangements for celebration. It first organised a special prayer according to Buddhist customs close to the sole statue of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar to celebrate Kovind’s sweeping win over opposition candidate Meira Kumar.

For many in the village with a population of around 9,000, Kovind’s victory was a promise for a brighter future. “Now we are going to have the President from our village, our hopes have taken wing, he will for sure think getting the industries around Paraunkh,” said Raju Srivastava, a local resident.

Through the day, residents were glued to their television sets and radios and erupted in celebrations as soon as reporters announced Kovind, a former Rajya Sabha member, had won with almost two-thirds of the vote.

Kovind had visited Paraunkh in July 2016 when he became the governor of Bihar. He had converted his village house into ‘community hall’ for locals.

Late Maikulal, father of the president-elect, ran a small general store in the village and was known to be religious. It is through his faith in Hinduism that Kovind first came in touch with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, residents said.

At Jhinjhak, where Kovind’s brothers live, residents lit lamps with ghee and distributed sweets, “gulaal” (colour) and flowers. The small town is around 160 kilometres from Lucknow.

People celebrate after Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind was announced as NDA's presidential nominee at his village Paraunkhdera Pur in Kanpur Dehat. ( PTI )

Family members of the president-elect said they will go to Delhi by train on July 23 and that they had already started buying clothes for the swearing-in ceremony.

The president-elect’s niece Hemlata Kovind said her uncle was aware of ground realities and the first thing she would like seeing him do is generating job opportunities in Jhinjhak and Paraunkh.

“At times, it becomes very hard to imagine that the uncle in whose lap you spent a significant time during childhood has been elected as the president. Not only our family, but the entire village is celebrating Holi and Diwali,” she said.

Jhinjhak is also where Kovind’s two brothers — Pyarelal and Shivbalak — lived. Shivbalak, who died a few years ago, was the one who educated Kovind. Shivbalak’s widow, Vidyawati, fasted since Wednesday for Kovind’s victory.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 19:15 IST