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FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Ram Nath Kovind, nominated presidential candidate of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), present him with a garland during a welcoming ceremony as part of his nation-wide tour, in Ahmedabad, India, July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Amit Dave


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Ram Nath Kovind, a candidate backed by India's ruling coalition, won the presidential election on Thursday, tightening the governing alliance's hold over positions of power.

Votes from 4,896 lawmakers in state assemblies and parliament were counted in parliament to elect the constitutional head, a largely ceremonial post.

"Kovind has secured a clear majority," an election official told Reuters.

Kovind, 71, a low-caste Dalit politician with Hindu nationalist roots, beat Meira Kumar, also a Dalit, backed by the centrist Congress party.

(Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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