India set to crown candidate with RSS roots as president

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 15 Jul 2017, 21:54:30 | Updated : 15 Jul 2017, 21:57:43

India set to crown candidate with RSS roots as president

India set to crown candidate with RSS roots as president
Indian lawmakers are set to elect the country's next president, drawn from the main Hindu nationalist group, in a vote on Monday, tightening the control of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing associates on positions of power.

Ram Nath Kovind’s ascent to the highest public office will be the first for a leader reared in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or National Volunteers' Association, the ideological mentor of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates.

Under India's constitution, the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues wield executive power and the president remains above the fray.

But the president has a key role during political crises, such as when a parliament election is inconclusive, by deciding which political party is in the best position to form a government.

Some presidents, such as the current incumbent, Pranab Mukherjee, have tried to act as conscience-keepers, using their constitutional authority as the head of state to defend India's founding principles as a secular and diverse democracy.

Kovind, 72, a low-caste Dalit politician who served as the government's lawyer in the Supreme Court as well as a state governor, said he would uphold the dignity of the president's office.

"Ever since I took over as governor, I have no political affiliation. The president of India is above politics," he said, while filing his nomination last month, according to Reuters.

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