NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind has on the Presidential election after securing over two-thirds of the Electoral College votes. Former governor of Bihar, Kovind (71), will be only the second Dalit leader after RK Narayanan since Independence to occupy India’s highest ceremonial post.
The counting of votes for the presidential election began at 11 am on Thursday. The contest, between the ruling NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind and the Opposition’s Meira Kumar, both Dalits, had seen nearly 99 per cent lawmakers and legislators cast their vote – the highest ever. Current President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is ending on July 24 and Kovind will take the oath the next day to become India’s 14th President.
Though he won by a comfortable margin, his rival Meira Kumar ended up with the best haul for an opposition candidate in recent times. “I realise it is a great responsibility,” the 71-year-old said at his home in Delhi, where a crowd burst crackers and distributed sweets in celebration. PM Modi tweeted: “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.”