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India elects new head of state  — Analysis

The Indian Parliament and local government officials have voted overwhelmingly in favor of Droupadi Murmu, a 64-year-old teacher-turned-politician, to become the next President of India, election officials announced after the final count on Thursday.

Murmu was nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and received around 64% of the votes cast by some 4,700 state and federal lawmakers on Monday. Her closest competitor was Yashwant Singhha, a former member of BJP who quit due to disagreements with Modi.

A member of the Santal ethnic minority, one of India’s largest tribal groups, Murmu started her career as a school teacher in the eastern state of Odisha before moving on to become a state lawmaker and a governor of the neighboring state of Jharkhand.

“As a tribal woman from remote Mayurbhanj district, I had not thought about becoming the candidate for the top post,”After her nomination, she spoke out.

Her formal swearing in will take place on July 25th. She replaces Ram Nath Kovind who is a Hindu nationalist leader and has been the head of State of Republic of India since 2017.

The official role of president of India in India is generally considered to be ceremonial. However, the head of state can exercise a range of diplomatic, military, financial, and emergency power. While the constitution obligates the president to follow the advice of both the prime minister, cabinet and the Cabinet, the President may also exercise his veto power. He can ratify or return any bill that has been passed by parliament for an indefinite time.

“She has emerged as a ray of hope for our citizens, especially the poor, marginalized and the downtrodden,”Modi tweeted the following after visiting Murmu’s residence in New Delhi, to personally congratulate her.

Murmu received also felicitations from India’s Defense Secretary Rajnath Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Sha, BJP president JP Nadda, as well as her opposition-backed opponent Sinha. Sinha tweeted: “India hopes that as the 15th President of the Republic she functions as the custodian of the Constitution without fear or favor.”

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