A globetrotting President and his travels

A globetrotting President and his travels

President Ram Nath Kovind. PTI file photo

President Ram Nath Kovind, who completed two years in his office on Thursday, has travelled to 23 countries in just two years as against total 24 foreign country visits of his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee and 21 such visits by another former President Pratibha Patil in five years each.

As Kovind’s third year in office begins from tomorrow, he will embark on a week-long visit to Benin, Guinea Conakry and Gambia from July 28 in the spirit of the high priority accorded to engagements with African countries in Modi regime.

The diplomatic engagement of the President’s office has increased in Kovind’s tenure. In the second year of his tenure, the President made five state visits during which he travelled to 10 countries in four different continents. 

Some of the nations he visited are a first for any Indian President. He was the first Indian President to visit Australia, Bolivia and Croatia.

The Republic of Djibouti and the Republic of Ethiopia were the first countries Kovind visited in the first week of October within three months of taking over the President’s high office. The three-nation trip of Kovind beginning July 28 is his 10th foreign trip, covering 23 countries in two years. 

Other nations which Kovind visited are Mauritius,  Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, Kingdom of Swaziland,  Zambia, Greece, Suriname,  Cuba, Cyprus, Bulgaria Czech Republic, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Australia, Myanmar, Croatia, Bolivia, and Chile.

Mukherjee had covered 24 countries in 13 trips in five years. Pratibha Patil had gone on 12 foreign trips and visited 21 countries, A P J Abdul Kalam had gone on seven trips to cover 17 countries, K R Narayanan on six trips to cover 10 countries and Shankar Dayal Sharma four trips to visit 16 countries (all of them in five years).

The globe-trotting President has also been a frequent domestic traveller. He has visited 16 states and one Union territory in his second year of presidency, with visits totalling up to 25. He visited his home state Uttar Pradesh six times, Tamil Nadu four times, Gujarat three times and Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana twice each.

During his two years in office up to July 22 this year, the President gave assent to 53 bills (30 in his first year and 23 in the second year) and 25 ordinances (12 in the first year and 13 in the second year), some of which also drew criticism from the government of bypassing Parliament.

Kovind stayed connected on social media through platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The President of India’s facebook page has 5.1 million likes so far.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan opened up for the visitors all the more during Kovind’s tenure and online booking was opened up for Mughal Gardens enthusiasts. On average, the President saw 23 persons per day. Between the first and second year of his Presidency, the number of visitors to Rashtrapati Bhavan museum rose by 84%, official sources said.

Kovind, who belongs to Scheduled Caste Kori community and was born in a Kanpur village of Uttar Pradesh, hailed from a humble background. He has maintained a low profile in his three-decade-long political career and in his role as Governor of Bihar before he was elected President of India, on July 25, 2017, received encomiums from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar his neutral and bipartisan role.