Ram Nath Kovind sworn in as In­dia’s 14th Pres­i­dent

I grew up in a mud house, in a small vil­lage; my jour­ney has been a long one: Kovind

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New Delhi, In­dia - Ram Nath Kovind was sworn in as In­dia’s Pres­i­dent on Tues­day, be­com­ing just the sec­ond leader from the op­pressed Dalit com­mu­nity to be elected head of state.

A for­mer lawyer and state gov­er­nor, Kovind was elected to the largely cer­e­mo­nial po­si­tion last week with more than 65 per cent of the vote by mem­bers of In­dia’s par­lia­ment and state as- sem­blies.

Kovind, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, paid re­spects early on Tues­day at a me­mo­rial ded­i­cated to In­dia’s in­de­pen­dence hero Ma­hatma Gandhi in New Delhi.

“I grew up in a mud house, in a small vil­lage. My jour­ney has been a long one, and yet this jour­ney is hardly mine alone. It is so telling of our na­tion and our so­ci­ety also,” Kovind said af­ter tak­ing the oath of of­fice in par­lia­ment.

“For all its prob­lems, it (na­tion) fol­lows that ba­sic mantra given to us in the preamble of the con­sti­tu­tion - of en­sur­ing jus­tice, lib­erty, equal­ity and fra­ter­nity, and I will al­ways con­tinue to fol­low this ba­sic mantra.”

The 71 year old was nom­i­nated by the rul­ing rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a move an­a­lysts say would help Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi tighten his grip on power and gain po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal ahead of his re-elec­tion bid in 2019.

Kovind has said he will use his po­si­tion to im­prove the lot of Dal­its, a marginalised 200mn strong com­mu­nity once known as ‘un­touch­ables’ and ranked among In­dia’s poor­est.

“Our di­ver­sity is the core that makes us so unique... We are so dif­fer­ent yet so sim­i­lar and united,” Kovind said.

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)

In­dia’s new Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind waves from a horse-drawn car­riage dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van, in New Delhi on Tues­day

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