The NDA government’s pick for the country’s top job, Ram Nath Kovind, who was on Thursday elected the 14th President of India after defeating Opposition candidate Meira Kumar, will today take oath at 12.15pm at the Central Hall of Parliament.
The 71-year-old former Governor of Bihar and RSS member will be the second Dalit to be elected president — KR Narayanan was the first who with the Congress’ support held the country’s highest office.
President-elect Kovind began his day with a visit to Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi. He will now be escorted to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet outgoing President Mukherjee. The two will then proceed to Parliament in the ceremonial six-horse buggy (carriage), the use of which was revived at the 2014 Beating Retreat ceremony by 81-year-old President Mukherjee.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice-President Hamid Ansari will receive the two at the Parliament building where they will be taken to the Central Hall.
Mr Kovind will be sworn-in by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar marking the end of outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee’s term. He will then exchange seats with Mr Mukherjee. A 21-gun salute will be given in his honour and the new president will then deliver his address.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union ministers, governors and chief ministers of states, ambassadors and military officers will be in attendance.
After the ceremony, the two will leave for Rashtrapati Bhavan where outgoing president Pranab Mukherjee will give the new President a tour of his new address. From there Mr Mukherjee will head for 10, Rajaji Marg, where a freshly-painted British-era bungalow with sloping red-tiled roof and fitted with chimneys, wide lawns and gardens awaits its new resident.
The president will hold the office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters the office, according to Article 56 of the Constitution of India.