New Delhi: BJP nominee Ram Nath Kovind has been elected as the 14th President of India defeating opposition candidate Meira Kumar by securing 65.65 percent of the total polled votes. He has become the first BJP member and only the second Dalit after KR Narayanan to occupy the highest political office in the country. He will take oath as the next President of India on July 25th for the next five years, succeeding incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee. In a statement expressing joy over the support Kovind received Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovindji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful and inspiring tenure.”
Elected by legislators as the next President, the former Bihar Governor secured a total value of 7,02,044 votes as opposed to Meira Kumar’s 3,67,314 votes’ values in the Electoral College System. The final results indicate that many of the opposition parties who had declared support for Meira Kumar decided to favor Ram Nath Kovind come election time. A total number of 4,896 voters (776 elected MPs and 4,120 MLAs) were eligible to vote. The value of an MP’s vote is 708 while an MLA’s vote value will vary depending upon the state population of the concerned elected legislator. Almost 99 percent voting was recorded for electing the next President of democratic India. According to returning officer Anoop Mishra, 71-year old Kovind garnered 2930 votes while losing candidate Meira Kumar received a total number of 1844 votes.
Both candidates had toured to garner support prior to the elections. While Kovind was assured of victory after the NDA and certain regional parties threw their weight behind him, Meira Kumar asked for support from legislators terming her candidature and the election a “fight of ideologies.” Ram Nath Kovind will be the first person from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to occupy the President’s post. If BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu manages to clinch the Vice Presidential post, it will be the first time in Indian history that both the President and Vice President will be from the RSS.