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Low-caste Hindu leader Kovind sworn in as India's president

Low-caste Hindu leader Kovind sworn in as India's president

Earlier in the day, Kovind reached Rajghat along with his wife Savita and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. "It is so telling of our nation and our society also", Kovind said after taking the oath of office in parliament. "Honoured to witness oath ceremony", Fadnavis tweeted.

Addressing the gathering at the Central Hall of Parliament, Kovind, who sworn-in as the 14th President of India today, said, 'I am aware I am following in the footsteps of stalwarts such as Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. A.P.J.

Kovind will take the office as tenure of President Pranab Mukherjee ends on Monday.

In his farewell address as the outgoing President on Monday, Pranab Mukherjee had underscored the need for unity, pluralism and tolerance.

As Kovind walked back, Mukherjee smilingly ushered Kovind to the seat he was previously seated in and congratulated him.

"I accept this position with all humility and I am grateful for this responsibility", said the 71- years old Ram Nath Kovind in his first speech as the President.

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He also exchanged greetings with former Speaker Meira Kumar, who was his rival in the presidential election.

He then left for the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presidential limousine - this time with Mukherjee in the left and India's new president on the right.

Kovind was elected the President on Thursday as a ruling NDA candidate. Also, he served as the 35th Governor of Bihar.

After his address in Parliament, President Kovind was given a guard of honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Then the President-elect and the incumbent go in a ceremonial cavalcade travelling in the same auto to the Parliament. In his speech, Kovind also mentioned the principal architect of the Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and said Ambedkar instilled in the people "the value of human dignity and of the republican ethic". The new president, following which, will proceed towards his new residence - 10, Rajaji Marg. "Each one of us is a custodian of India's well-being and of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations", said Kovind, praising the role of young entrepreneurs and start-ups - among others - in nation building.

In the run-up to the election, opposition parties pointed to Kovind's roots in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the National Volunteers Organization), a right-wing group that is an ideological mentor of the BJP.

Education Worker: During his tenure as the MP, Kovind has worked extensively to provide access to education in remote villages of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


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