Ram Nath Kovind – President Of India
Ram Nath Kovind, lawyer, former MP and governor, was elected India’s next President on Thursday. The government-backed candidate, a Dalit leader, won nearly 66 per cent of the votes cast by an electoral college of MPs and state lawmakers on Monday.
“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. Though he won by a comfortable margin, his rival Meira Kumar ended up with the best haul for an opposition candidate in recent times.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee received an overwhelming majority of votes from the country’s lawmakers.
Mr. Kovind defeated Opposition candidate and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, garnering more than 65 per cent of the votes in the Electoral College, the Returning Officer for the presidential election Anoop Mishra announced. He will be sworn in on July 25.
The 71-year-old former Governor of Bihar, who will be the second Dalit to hold the top constitutional position, received 2930 votes with a value of 702044, Mr. Mishra said.
Mr. Kovind will be the first BJP member to be elected President.
Ms. Kumar, also a Dalit, polled 1844 votes with a value of 367314.
The Electoral College comprises Members of Parliament and members of Legislative Assemblies of all the States.
A total of 4,896 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of States are not part of the electoral college.
While the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of his or her State, the value of an MP’s vote remains the same at 708.
The Vice-President election will be held on August 5.
While former party president Venkaiah Naidu is the NDA candidate, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the Opposition pick.