Ram Nath Kovind to become India’s 14th President

SansadTV Bureau

NDA candidate for Presidential polls Ram Nath Kovind goes to file his nomination papers along with a BJP delegation. (PTI)

NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind has won the presidential polls. He is set to be sworn-in as the 14th President of India. Kovind is the second Dalit President of India after KR Narayanan.

Kovind won more than 65 per cent of the votes in the electoral college.

“Kovind secured 2930 votes with a value of 7,02,044. Meira Kumar got 1,844 votes with the value of 3,67,314, and 77 votes were invalid,” said Anoop Mishra, the returning officer for the Presidential election 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the President-elect.

The Prime Minister also congratulated Meira Kumar for her campiagn, which he said, “was in spirit of the democratic ethos and values.”

As predicted, the numbers were stacked in Kovind’s favour.

Even before the voting, the ruling coalition had secured the support of nearly two-thirds of the electoral college, with some political parties even outside the NDA fold throwing their weight behind him.

On the other hand, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who did not have the numbers, called the elections Opposition’s fight against a “narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision”.

File Photo of Opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar.

File Photo of Opposition’s presidential candidate Meira Kumar.

Despite the unfavourable numbers, Gandhi had said, “the battle must be fought and fought hard”.

Soon after the election results were announced, Kovind gave a brief speech where he thanked all his well-wishers. He also spoke about his childhood days when he struggled to get by. He recalled how he and his family members had to suffer during rainy days.

“It is sure that there are lot of Kovinds in my country even now and I am the President of all those people who go through hardship and struggle,” Kovind said.

Ram Nath Kovind - India's 14th President.

Ram Nath Kovind – India’s 14th President.

Speaking about his duty as the President, Kovind said: “Protecting the Constitution and its tradition are my responsibilities.”

“The names of Rajendra Prasad, K R Narayanan, APJ Abdul Kalam, Pranab Mukherjee itself reminds me of the responsibility as the President,” he added.

Meanwhile, Meira Kumar said that her fight for the welfare of the oppressed and the marginalised in the society will continue.

“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 said.

The run up to the polls saw a division in the Opposition ranks, especially with Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) promising support to the NDA candidate Koviond, who was also the former Governor of Bihar. However, JD(U) has backed the Opposition in the Vice Presidential polls.

Voting for the polls was held on Monday, July 17 as the incumbent Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure ends on July 25.

(With inputs from PTI)