Ram Nath Kovind, who took his oath to become the 14th President of India, said that unity was the “way forward” for the country.
His first speech to the nation was similar to the final speech made by his predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee.
Ram Nath Kovind, the former Governor of Bihar, was nominated by the NDA government. He beat the opposition pick, Meira Kumar, by getting 65% of the votes.
Unlike countries like the United States, the President of India is the titular head of the state. In Indian Parliamentary practice, the President is the Constitutional ruler. The Prime Minister, along with the Union Council of Ministers, has the executive power to govern the nation. The President can declare National, State or Financial emergency and is vested with other Executive, Judicial and Legislative powers.
Pranab Mukherjee, served as the President of India from 2012 to 2017. In the recent years, he has increasingly preached the importance of tolerance. In his final speech as the president of the nation, he once again extolled the virtues of pluralism. He said, “The soul of India resides in pluralism and tolerance…The multiplicity in culture, faith and language is what makes India special.”
Kovind, who is known for keeping a low-profile as a politician echoed similar sentiments. He said, “We are a country of great diversity, yet have shown that unity is the way forward. We are a peaceful nation and are now at a stage where we have to take the country forward... We are proud of our heritage and culture... it is now time we show the world what India is capable of.”
Ultimately, both statesmen have noted that by embracing this diversity is how India will become a leader in the 21st century.
Our assessment is that the tenor of both Mr Pranab Mukherjee, former president, and Mr Ram Nath Kovind, the current president, bodes well for the country. It is extraordinary to note that both First Citizens of the country believe that unity and inclusiveness is the way forward.