Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday took oath as the 14th President of India. Kovind won the elections after getting over 7 lakh votes in the Electoral College. He defeated his closest opponent Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. Nearly 99 per cent lawmakers and legislators had voted on July 17 for the elections, the highest ever.

The former Governor of Bihar, Kovind is the country’s second Dalit President after KR Narayanan. Speaking after he was elected as the President, Kovind had said: “Me being elected President is a message for a person who has walked on an honest path. Thoughts of serving my nation have brought me this far”. He had assured the people that he will uphold and protect the Constitution of India.

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Talking about his responsibility as the president, an emotional Kovind had said: “It is a great responsibility to be elected to the post that has been graced by great men like Dr Rajendraprasad, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Shri Pranab Mukherjee”.

Soon after he was named as the next President, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated him and shared a 20-year-old photo with Kovind saying, “20 years ago and the present…always been a privilege to know you, President Elect.” Wishing Kovind on his victory, Modi said: “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.” He also thanked the electoral college for having voted for the NDA’s presidential candidate. “Gladdened by the extensive support for Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji among MPs & across various states. I thank members of the electoral college,” he tweeted.

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Kovind has had a long history in politics. Although he has maintained a low profile, he has served on several important positions in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He served as a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha and headed the party’s SC-ST wing for a while. He has also held key positions in parliamentary committees as a lawmaker.

Kovind also represented India in United Nations (New York) and addressed the UN General Assembly in October, 2002. He served as a member of the board of management of BR Ambedkar University, Lucknow. He also served as a member of the board of governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.

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