DELHI, July 20: Ram Nath Kovind has been elected as the 14th President of India. With the final votes counted on Thursday, the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government candidate Kovind scored 65.65% votes.
His nearest rival for the post, opposition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Meira Kumar has scored 34035% votes.
Ram Nath Kovind won 7,02,644 votes while Meira Kumar trailed with 3,67,314 in total in the elections. Of the 771 MPs who are eligible to vote, 768 had voted. Among 4109 MLAs, 4083 exercised their franchise.
The value of total electoral college is 10,98,903.
Born on October 1, 1945 at Kanpur Dehat, it was a masterstroke decision by the NDA considering that while Kovind has good credentials, he is also a Dalit candidate and his win would make him the second Dalit President of India.
Kovind’s political journey began in April 1994, when he was elected as a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March, 2006.
Most parties who were on the fence about supporting the BJP were left with no choice as they did not want to be seen as opposing a Dalit candidate. Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi's decision to put forth Meira Kumar's name was seen as retaliation to the NDA's move.
A day before the election to the top constitutional post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had congratulated NDA pick Ram Nath Kovind "in advance" and assured him that his government would support him wholeheartedly.
The numbers had favored Kovind as the ruling coalition had secured the support of two-third of the electoral votes. However, since it was a secret ballot, Opposition chief Sonia Gandhi has asked the ministers to vote their conscience.
The current Governor of Bihar, the President-elect Ram Nath Kovind, a lawyer by profession kicked off his career in 1971 when he enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi. He served as Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and between 1980 to 1993; he was part of the Central Government Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court.
Kovind on July 14 had said that if he was elected as the President, he would dedicate his special attention to the youth of the country and fulfilling their expectation.
He will be sworn in on July 25. Current President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is set to expire on July 25. In the last presidential election in 2012, Pranab Mukherjee had defeated PA Sangma and got over 69% votes.