The trend continues an Indian tradition using the presidency to strengthen disadvantaged communities in India. India has had three Muslim presidents, Zakir Hussain, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and outgoing president APJ Abdul Kalam since Independence. It has also had a president from the Sikh community. K. R. Narayanan was from lower level of India’s complex caste matrix. And now Pratibha Patil, 72, is here as the President of India.
India is not so unfamiliar with women leaders such as Indira Gandhi, Jayalalitha, and Sonia Gandhi. But, this has happened for the first time that any woman leader has elected on the post of the head of the state, President of India.
Pratibha’ election as the India’s first woman President is being seen as a victory for the hundreds of millions of Indian women who contend with widespread discrimination.
After registering the victory, with winning about two thirds of the Electoral College votes in the poll against Bhairo Singh Shekhawat, she said:
This a victory of the people. I am grateful to the people of India and the men and women of India and this is a victory for the principles, which our Indian people uphold.
Sonia Gandhi said on her election as President:
This is a very special moment for us women, and men of course, in our country because for the first time we have a woman being elected president of India.
However, the major question is that does her presidency reflect the real picture of growing power of women in India? We can hope Patil’s presidency would spark only positive talk about women’s influence in India.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said:
Pratibha Patil’s her victory was a vote against the politics of divisiveness.
Pratibha Patil has a vision for India. She said:
I think that India should make adequate economic, social and educational progress and immediately.
The country’s poverty and unemployment should be removed and there should be gender equality among men and women in the country.
India’s civilisation should be exposed properly across the world. Though it is there but it has to be further spread. We have to make a stronger India from all perspectives.