Ram Nath Kovind, lawyer, former MP and governor, was elected India’s 14th President yesterday, July 20, 2017.
The government-backed candidate, a Dalit leader, won nearly 66 per cent of the votes cast by an electoral college of MPs and state lawmakers on Monday. He will be sworn in on July 25.
Mr Kovind will be the second Dalit President of India after KR Narayanan. His humble background and simplicity were underscored repeatedly by the BJP over the weeks before the presidential vote.
Election as President of India reminds me of a great responsibility as the post was earlier held by great scholars like Rajendra Prasad, S Radhakrishnan, A P J Abdul Kalam and Pranab Mukherjee,” said Kovind at his temporary residence at 10, Akbar Road, a little after returning officer Anoop Mishra handed him his election certificate.
20 years ago and the present…always been a privilege to know you, President Elect. pic.twitter.com/IkhnOtYf8N
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 20, 2017
“It is an emotional moment for me. Today it’s raining in Delhi since morning. The rain reminds me of my childhood days when I used to live in my native village,” said Kovind, adding, “Ghar kachcha tha, mitti ki diwar thi, baarish ke samay phoos ki chhat paani rok nahi pati thi. Ham sab bhai, behan, kamare ke baahar khade hokar intezar karte the ki baarish kab khatam hogi” (We had a thatched house, the walls were made of mud. The roof leaked and we used to wait for the rain to stop).”
The Constitution provides a largely ceremonial role for the President, with the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues holding executive power. But the President has a key role during political crises, such as when a general election is inconclusive, by deciding which party is in the best position to form a government.