NDA Candidate and former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind today won the presidential election. Kovind defeated Opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker after garnering 66 percent of the votes in the Electoral College, Returning Officer Anoop Mishra announced. He will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar in the Central Hall of Parliament on 25 July.
After final round of counting, Ram Nath Kovind got 7,02,044 votes out of a total of 10,69,358. His opponent and former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar won 3,67,314 votes.
Meanwhile, Kumar polled in 1,844 votes with a value of 3,67,314. A total of 4,896 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — were eligible to cast their ballot. The polling was marked by cross-voting in various states, namely Gujarat, Assam, Goa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, where many Opposition members favoured Kovind. Around 116 MPs and MLAs cross-voted, according to CNN-News18.
Kovind said that it is his duty to protect the Constitution and uphold its values as the president. “I pay my respects to my countrymen and assure them that I’ll serve the nation in the spirit of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah‘ (May all be happy),” he said. “I never aspired to be the president but my election is an evidence of the greatness of Indian democracy. My win is also a message to those discharging their duties with integrity,” he said.
Meira Kumar, despite her defeat said the fight with the BJP is of ideologies and it has not ended with the results today.
“My fight for secularism, the oppressed and the marginalised continues. The fight has not ended. This is a fight of ideologies… it will continue,” Kumar, 72, told reporters in New Delhi. The veteran Congress leader, who like Kovind is also a Dalit, extended her wishes to the winning candidate. “My best wishes with Shri Kovindji as it has fallen upon him to uphold Constitution in letter and spirit in these challenging times,” she said.