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In first year, President Ram Nath Kovind visits 27 out of 29 states

Senior officials of the Rashtrapati Bhavan claimed it was a record for any president.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2018 11:28 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Ram Nath Kovind,President,Rashtrapati Bhavan
File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind. (AFP photo)

In his first year in office, President Ram Nath Kovind visited 27 of India’s 29 states, two senior officials of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said, claiming it was a record for any president. He completed one year in office on Wednesday.

Kovind made 53 domestic visits in 52 weeks, the first being a trip to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2017 to honour Ladakh Scouts. His predecessor Pranab Mukherjee made 42 trips in first 52 weeks. “In November 2017, President Kovind visited 12 states,” the first official said on condition of anonymity.

With nine trips, Uttar Pradesh topped the list of the states he visited. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh (5 times each), Gujarat (4), J&K (3) and Karnataka (3) are other prominent states to which he travelled.

“Kovind is a regular in the northeast,” the second official said, also on condition of anonymity. “He has visited six of the eight states of the northeast in his first year in office. This is a record for any president.” Kovind, so far, has visited Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Kovind has undertaken four state visits, covering 10 countries, in the first year, compared to Mukherjee’s visit to just two countries in the first year and a total tally of 25. He is the first president to make three consecutive state visits to Africa, the first official said. Kovind is also the first president to visit Djibouti, Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland, Suriname and Cuba.

Kovind is the first president to visit Euthopia since 1972, Zambia since 1989, Greece since 2007 and Mauritius since 2013. “He had a packed diplomacy diary,” the second official said, adding that Kovind has hosted eight state visits by presidents and monarchs, and received 34 other global leaders from five continents.

He addressed 27 convocations across India, including at Indian Insitutes of Technology (IITs) and other prestigious institutions such as Delhi University, University of Madras and the Aligarh Muslim University. His is among the 10 most engaged Facebook pages of heads of state and government.

In his first year in office, Kovind assented to 30 bills of the Centre and 59 others from the states, promulgated 12 ordinances and appointed eight governors and one lieutenant governor.

Under Kovind, the first official said, Rashtrapati Bhavan is being transformed into ‘rashtra ka bhavan’ (house of the nation).

Some 90,147 people visited the president’s house and Mughal Gardens in the past year, and close to 42,000 visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan museum.

“Clearly President Kovind has been very active on the diplomatic front,” said C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies. “The substantive part of diplomacy and advancing / protecting Indian interests abroad has to be achieved by team India at the working level... every Indian president will be judged after they lay down office by the degree to which this high office has been the true and impartial guardian of the constitution and the principles enshrined therein. Perhaps the true challenge for President Kovind lies in the run-up to the 2019 election and how the internal security fabric of the county will be protected by the executive,” he added.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 22:59 IST