At 12.15 this afternoon, Ram Nath Kovind will take oath in Parliament’s Central Hall as India’s 14th president. The President-elect, who started his day with a visit to Rajghat to pay his respects to Mahatma Gandhi, then went to Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he was welcomed by outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee. They are now on way to Parliament, where Chief Justice of India JS Khehar will administer the oath of office to Mr Kovind.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice-President Hamid Ansari will receive the two at the Parliament building, where they will be taken to the Central Hall.
The NDA government’s pick for the country’s top job, Mr Kovind was elected the 14th President of India last week, defeating Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. The 71-year-old former Governor of Bihar was the second Dalit to be elected to the nation’s highest office after KR Narayanan.
After taking oath, Mr Kovind – who began his day with a visit to Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi — will exchange seats with Mr Mukherjee. A 21-gun salute will be given in his honour and the new President will then deliver his address.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union ministers, governors and chief ministers of states, ambassadors and military officers will attend the ceremony.
After the ceremony, the President and Mr Mukherjee will leave for Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mr Mukherjee will give the new President a tour of his new home.
Mr Mukherjee will then proceed to 10, Rajaji Marg, where a freshly-painted British-era bungalow with sloping red-tiled roof and fitted with chimneys, wide lawns and gardens awaits its new resident.
The president will hold the office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters the office, according to Article 56 of the Constitution of India.