Indian PM Modi meets president-elect Kovind as BJP supporters celebrate

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 12:24 GMT, Jul 21, 2017 |

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ram Nath Kovind, a low-caste politician, on being elected as the 14th president of the country on Thursday (July 20).

India’s constitution provides a largely ceremonial role for the president, with the prime minister and his cabinet holding executive power.

Kovind supporters in his hometown in the northern city of Kanpur celebrated after he beat the Congress party’s Meira Kumar, also a Dalit by an overwhelming majority.

He will be sworn in as president on July 25.

Kovind’s ascent to the highest public office is the first for a leader reared in the powerful Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or National Volunteers’ Association, the ideological mentor of Hindu groups.

Kovind’s victory caps a series of top appointments by Modi, strengthening the grip of the Hindu right on public offices, such as governors, state chief ministers and the heads of universities.