Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, 76, was declared elected the 13th President on Sunday.
The UPA nominee defeated the former Lok Sabha Speaker, P.A. Sangma, by 3,97,776 value votes. While Mr. Mukherjee polled 3,095 votes, (value 7,13,763) Mr. Sangma got 1,483 votes (3,15,987).
Mr. Mukherjee — who will be sworn in by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia on July 25 — secured 68.12 per cent of the total 10,47,971 value votes cast by 4,659 members of the State/Territorial Assemblies and Parliament. Mr. Sangma, backed by the NDA, the AIADMK and the BJD, managed only 30.15 per cent of the votes.
There were a total of 81 invalid votes, to the value of 18,221. These include that of Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose second ballot was invalidated by the Election Commission, for it violated the vote of secrecy.
Among the 748 Members of Parliament (excluding the nominated members who have no voting right) with the total vote value of 5,29,584, Mr. Mukherjee polled 527 votes (3,73,116) and Mr. Sangma got 206 votes (1,45,848).
Informed sources said there was some cross-voting in favour of Mr. Mukherjee in the BJP-ruled Karnataka: he got votes of 117 MLAs, against the BJP’s 103 in the 224-member Assembly. While three votes were declared invalid, one MLA did not vote.
In Kerala, Mr. Mukherjee made a clean sweep, polling all 124 votes; one was invalid. The CPI and RSP MLAs abstained.
Only the former President, K.R. Narayanan, secured the maximum value votes of 9, 56, 290 (94.97 per cent), when he won in the 1997 election against the former Chief Election Commissioner, T.N. Seshan.
In the 2007 election, the outgoing President, Pratibha Patil, the first woman to hold the office, defeated the then Vice-President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, securing 65.82 per cent of the total valid votes. Shekhawat polled 33.18 per cent.
Humbly accepting the victory, Mr. Mukherjee, the first Bengali to occupy the Raisina Hill, expressed his “deep gratitude [to the people] for electing me President.” He received much more than he had given (to the country), and he would try to justify the people’s trust in him, he said.
He also thanked Mr. Sangma for his congratulatory message. “I am grateful to Mr. Sangma for his wishes.”
Mr. Sangma did not rule out his moving the Supreme Court to challenge the acceptance of Mr. Mukherjee’s nomination by the Returning Officer disregarding the fact that he held an office of profit at that time. He said the nation had lost an opportunity to project a tribal as President and demanded a code of conduct for the presidential election.
With Mr. Mukherjee emerging victorious, celebrations broke out in the Congress offices throughout the country and the President-elect’s hometown.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, senior Ministers A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram and senior Congress leaders called on Mr. Mukherjee to congratulate him. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, the UPA candidate for the August 7 election, greeted Mr. Mukherjee on the phone.
Mr. Mukherjee is the third person to go directly to Rashtrapati Bhavan from the Union Cabinet, after Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Giani Zail Singh. Most of the other former Presidents held the post of Vice-President before getting elected President.