NPR

India's New President, Until Now Little-Known, Vows To Represent Less Fortunate

Ram Nath Kovind, 71, was elected Thursday as India's head of state, a largely ceremonial post. The son of a farmer, he is a member of the Dalit community, once known as "untouchables."

India announced the election of its new president Thursday — but before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP party nominated him last month to be head of state, few saw Ram Nath Kovind coming.

Kovind secured 65 percent of the votes from an electoral college drawn from more than 4,000 members of 31 legislative assemblies across the country and 776 members of Parliament. He will take office as India's 14th president next week.

Kovind, 71, had been plucked from from the largely ceremonial post of in the upper chamber of India's Parliament, the Rayja Sabha. As a lawyer, he practiced before the Supreme Court, but his law career is said to have left no distinguished record of cases.

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