Droupadi Murmu scripted history on Monday (July 25), after being sworn in as the 15th President of India, as she is the first tribal and the second woman to be elected to the nation’s highest post.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament after taking the oath, President Murmu said, “My election is proof that the poor in the country can have dreams and also fulfil them.”
The 64-year-old former teacher who belongs to the Santhal community, one of India’s largest tribal groups, said getting a primary education was a dream for her and added that she would focus on welfare of the marginalised.
“Despite many obstacles, my resolve remained strong and I became the first daughter from my village to go to college” she said.
She also stated that she was honoured to take charge at a time India is completing 75 years of Independence. She paid her respects before her inauguration on Monday at a memorial dedicated to India’s independence icon Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi.
Murmu, who has had a stint as a state governor, replaces outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, whose term ended on 24 July.
Prime Minister Modi described Murmu’s swearing-in as a watershed moment for India, the most populous democracy in the world. “The entire nation watched with pride as Smt. Droupadi Murmu Ji took oath as the President of India. Her assuming the Presidency is a watershed moment for India especially for the poor, marginalised and downtrodden. I wish her the very best for a fruitful Presidential tenure,” he said in a post on Twitter.
The president in India is the head of the state, but does not exercise executive powers.
He or she is elected by the members of both the houses of parliament and of the legislative assemblies of states and federally-administered union territories. In August, Indian lawmakers will also vote to select the country’s vice-president.
With reporting by Indian Express, BBC, Al Jazeera