New Delhi: Mr Ram Nath Kovind today took oath as 14th President of the country, calling for creation of an egalitarian society with equal opportunity for all. Underlining that the diversity of the country was its uniqueness and its strength, the new President saluted the power and resilience of the 1.3 billion people of the country. He said every citizen of the country -- its farmers, its soldiers, its youth, its women, its police and paramilitary personnel, teachers and scientists -- was a nation builder. The new President in his speech spoke of Gandhiji's struggle for Freedom, Sardar Patel's feat of unification of states and Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar's struggle to secure the rights and dignity of weaker sections. Mr Kovind spoke of his long journey that started from a poor family residing in a mud house in a village, but, he said, this was the story of not only his family but of millions in the society. He also pointed out that for Dr Ambedkar, political freedom was not enough unless it was followed by economic freedom. Mr Kovind, the second Dalit President after K R Narayanan, was administered oath by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar. Earlier, the Election Commission notification declaring him elected was read out. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, former president Pratibha Patil, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, senior members of the Cabinet, veteran BJP leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of other parties, MPs and other distinguished people from different walks of life. Among Chief Ministers who attended the ceremony were Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, CM V Narayansamy of Congress-ruled Puducherry and his counterpart Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi, besides those of BJP ruled states like Mr Yogi Adittanath of Uttar Pradesh. Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar, his counterpart in Andhra Pradesh -- N Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana -- K C Rao besides Governor of Manipur Najma Heptulla and her counterpart in Pudducherry Kiran Bedi also attended the ceremony. The new President's family--- wife Savita Kovind, daughter Swati and son Prashant Kumar among others also attended the swearing-in ceremony. As Mr Kovind was sworn in, he was given 21-gun salute in Parliament premises.
Need To Build An India That Is An Economic Leader As Well As Moral Exemplar: Kovind
New Delhi: Stressing the need to build an India that is an economic leader as well as a moral exemplar, the new President Ram Nath Kovind today said 'the India of the 21st century will be one that is in conformity with our ancient values as well as compliant with the Fourth Industrial Revolution'. In his maiden address to the nation after being sworn in as the 14th President of the country, Mr Kovind, calling for a need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society, as envisioned by great leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay , said, 'These are integral to our sense of humanism. This is the India of our dreams, an India that will provide equality of opportunities. This will be the India of 21st century.' He also called for enhancing access and opportunity for the last person and the last girl-child from an under-privileged family in the last house in the last village. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said 'his journey from a mud house in a small village to becoming the President was telling of our nation and our society'. 'For all its problems, it follows that basic mantra given to us in the Preamble to the Constitution – of ensuring Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and I will always continue to follow this basic mantra,' he said. Bowing to the 125 crore citizens of the country, the President promised to stay true to the trust they had bestowed on him. 'I am conscious I am following in the footsteps of stalwarts such as Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, and my immediate predecessor, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, whom we address out of affection as 'Pranab Da',' he said. Calling each citizen of India as a 'nation builder', the President said, 'Each one of us is a custodian of India's well-being and of the legacy that we will pass on to coming generations.