C Times, 21 July 2017, Agartala
Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit BJP leader with humble beginnings, was on Thursday elected the 14th President of India defeating UPA candidate Meira Kumar in a straight fight by a huge margin, becoming the first BJP leader and one with RSS background to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kovind, the former Governor of Bihar, has served as a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha as well. Kovind will be the second Dalit President of the country after KR Narayanan.
Kovind polled 7,02,044 votes out of 10,90,300 in the Electoral College, while his rival Meira Kumar, the joint opposition candidate, secured 3,67,314 votes. This comes to a vote share of 65.65 per cent for the President-elect.
Ram Nath Kovind, the ruling NDA coalition’s candidate, may have won the presidential election comfortably, but his vote share is the lowest since 1974, figures reveal.
According to Election Commission data, Kovind’s immediate predecessor Pranab Mukherjee secured 69.31 percent votes in 2012, while Pratibha Patil in 2007 got 65.82 percent of the total votes, marginally higher than the share secured by Kovind.
K R Narayanan in 1997 and A P J Abdul Kalam in 2002 bagged 94.97 percent and 89.57 percent respectively, the highest victory percentages since 1974.
Opposition’s Meira Kumar congratulated Ram Nath Kovind for becoming the President of India. She said, “I congratulate Sh. Ram Nath Kovind Ji for becoming the President of India. My best wishes with Sh. Kovind Ji as it has fallen upon him to uphold Constitution in letter and spirit in these challenging times. Want to thank all members of the collegium, Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji and leaders of all the political parties who have supported me”.
Amit Shah, BJP national president also congratulated Ram Nath Kovind. He said, “Congratulations to Sh. Ram Rath Kovind Ji for an emphatic victory in the 2017 Presidential elections. His victory is truly historic.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ram Nath Kovind. He said, “Congratulations to Sh. Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India, Best wishes for a fruitful and inspiring truer. Gladdened by the extensive support for Sh. Kovind Ji among MPs and across various states. I thank members of the Electoral College. I also congratulate Meira Kumar Ji for her campaign, which was in the spirit of the democratic ethos and values we all are proud of.”