New Delhi: Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA candidate, was Thursday elected as India’s 14th president receiving an overwhelming majority of votes from the country’s lawmakers. Kovind defeated opposition’s Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker, garnering more than 65 percent of the votes in the Electoral College, the returning officer for the poll announced.
“I feel very emotional and I will represent all those struggling to make a living,” said the president-elect.
The 71-year-old, who will be the second dalit to hold the top constitutional position, received 2930 votes with a value of 702044, the returning officer, Anoop Mishra, said.
Kovind will be the first BJP member to be elected president. Kumar, also a dalit, polled in 1844 votes with a value of 367314.
The Electoral College comprises of Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies of all states.
Prime minister Narendra Modi congratulated Kovind, said he was gladdened by the extensive support he got.
20 years ago and the present…always been a privilege to know you, President Elect. pic.twitter.com/IkhnOtYf8N
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 20, 2017
A total of 4,896 voters – 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs – were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council 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 polling was marked by cross-voting in various states where many opposition members favoured Kovind.
The vice-presidential election will be held on August 5. While BJP has nominated a former party president, Venkaiah Naidu, the opposition has fielded former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
(With PTI inputs)