Pratibha Patil defeated incumbent Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in a governmental election for the presidency, making her the first female president of India. Her election to the post is in keeping with an Indian tradition of using the presidency to give a “high-profile voice to disadvantaged communities,” according to the Associated Press.
India got its first female president Saturday in a victory hailed as a special moment in a country where discrimination against women is often deep-rooted and widespread.
Pratibha Patil, 72, won 65.82 percent of the votes cast by national lawmakers and state legislators, said P.D.T. Achary, the secretary general of Parliament. She had the support of the governing Congress Party and its political allies, and had been widely expected to win.
“It is a 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,” said Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, who hand-picked Patil and was one of the first to congratulate her.