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Ram Nath Kovind takes oath as India’s 14th President
Ram Nath Kovind has been sworn in as India’s 14th President replacing Pranab Mukherjee. He was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice JS Khehar in the central hall of Parliament. At the occasion attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PMs Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, former president Pratibha Patil, chief ministers and MPs of both Houses of Parliament, Kovind thanked everyone for the enormous responsibility bestowed on him.
“I bow to the 125 crore citizens of this great nation and promise to stay true to the trust they have bestowed on me,” he said. “Each one of us is a custodian of India’s well-being and of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations”, reports The Indian Express.
Kovind, former Governor of Bihar and nominated by the BJP-led NDA, won the presidential election last week receiving over 7 lakh votes in the Electoral College and defeating Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.
Kovind, who practiced at both the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for 16 years, is India’s second Dalit president after KR Narayanan. The 71-year-old has also been a Rajya Sabha MP for two terms.
That was the focus of President Pranab Mukherjee’s last address to the nation. “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance. India is not just a geographical entity. It carries a history of ideas, philosophy, intellect, industrial genius, craft, innovation and experience. Plurality of our society has come about through assimilation of ideas over centuries. The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special. We derive our strength from tolerance. It has been part of our collective consciousness for centuries,” he said.
“There are divergent strands in public discourse. We may argue, we may agree or we may not agree. But we cannot deny the essential prevalence of multiplicity of opinion. Otherwise, a fundamental character of our thought process will wither away,” Mukherjee said.
“My sacred text has been the Constitution of India. My temple has been the Parliament of India, and my passion has been the service of the people of India,” he said summing up the philosophy that defined his stint in the Rashtrapati Bhawan.