Droupadi Murmu, 64, on Monday took oath as the 15th President of India. Chief justice of India NV Ramana administered the oath of office to Murmu in the central hall of Parliament.
Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, members of the council of ministers, governors, chief ministers, heads of diplomatic missions, MPs and principal civil and military officers of the government were in attendance at the swearing in ceremony.
Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind and Murmu arrived in Parliament in a ceremonial procession shortly before the swearing in commenced. In her address after taking oath as the 15th president of India, Murmu said that she started her journey of life from a small tribal village in Odisha in the eastern part of the country. From the background that she came from, it was like a dream for her to get elementary education, she said.
“Despite many obstacles, my determination remained strong and I became the first daughter of my village to go to college. I belong to the tribal society. I have got the opportunity to rise from serving as a ward councillor to becoming the President of India. This is the greatness of India, the mother of democracy,” she said.
She said that it is a matter of great satisfaction that those who have been deprived for centuries and those who have been denied the benefits of development, poor, downtrodden, backwards and tribals are seeing their reflection in her. She noted that it is a tribute to the power of Indian democracy that a daughter born in a poor house in a remote tribal area can reach the highest constitutional position in the country.
Only the first tribal head of state and the second woman in the top constitutional post, President Murmu succeeds Ram Nath Kovind. Murmu, who began her speech in Hindi with “Johar”, a traditional tribal greeting, said, that I attained the post of President is not my personal achievement. It is the achievement of every poor person in India. My election is proof of the fact that the poor in India can have dreams and fulfil them too. ”
Born to a Santhal family in Mayurbhanj, Odisha, one of the most backward districts in India, President Murmu grew up in a village where a young girl being able to obtain primary education was still a dream. She, however, beat the odds, going on to become the first person in her village to enrol for college education.
Murmu won the elecyion by an overwhelming margin against Yashwant Sinha after receiving over 64 per cent valid votes.
After the end of the counting process, returning officer P C Mody declared Murmu as the winner and said that she got 6,76,803 votes against Sinha's 3,80,177 votes.