Ram Nath Kovind was sworn in as the 14th President of India in New Delhi on Tuesday, July 25, in a ceremony that tightens the government’s hold on positions of power.
The 71-year-old low-caste politician backed by the ruling Hindu nationalist-led coalition easily won the presidential election last Thursday.
He is from the Dalit community – the lowest of India’s centuries old caste hierarchy – and beat the Congress party’s Meira Kumar, also a Dalit, by an overwhelming majority.
India’s constitution provides a largely ceremonial role for the president, with the prime minister and his cabinet 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.
Kovind’s victory caps a series of top appointments by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), strengthening the grip of the Hindu right on public offices, such as governors, state chief ministers and the heads of universities. (Channelstv)