In­dia gets new pres­i­dent

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

RAM Nath Kovind was elected In­dia’s new pres­i­dent yes­ter­day, the sec­ond time since in­de­pen­dence a head of state has been cho­sen from the bot­tom of the Hindu caste sys­tem.

Kovind won the largely cer­e­mo­nial po­si­tion with more than 65 per­cent of the vote by mem­bers of In­dia’s par­lia­ment and state as­sem­blies, the elec­tion com­mis­sion said.

The 71-year-old former lawyer and state gov­er­nor from the marginalised Dalit com­mu­nity was nom­i­nated by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s rul­ing party for the post.

The op­po­si­tion Congress Party also put for­ward a Dalit can­di­date, a former par­lia­men­tary speaker Meira Ku­mar.

But Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party as­sem­bled enough elec­toral col­lege votes to push through its can­di­date and the out­come was ex­pected.

‘‘Con­grat­u­la­tions to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on be­ing elected the Pres­i­dent of In­dia! Best wishes for a fruit­ful and in­spir­ing ten­ure,” Modi wrote on Twit­ter.

Kovind, in a sober­ing ad­dress af­ter be­ing de­clared pres­i­dent-elect, said it was an “emo­tional mo­ment”.

Dal­its, who num­ber around 200 mil­lion in the na­tion of 1.3 bil­lion, are among In­dia’s poor­est com­mu­ni­ties and rel­e­gated to the mar­gins of so­ci­ety.

In­dia’s prime min­is­ter wields ex­ec­u­tive power, but the pres­i­dent can send back some par­lia­men­tary bills for re­con­sid­er­a­tion and also plays a guid­ing role in the process of form­ing gov­ern­ments. – AFP

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