Ram Nath Kovind Becomes 14th President of India

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Ram Nath Kovind was declared elected as India’s 14th President polling 65.6% of the vote defeating the Opposition’s joint candidate, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who secured 34% of the vote.

The presidential election was held in India on 17 July 2017 with the votes counted and the results announced on 20 July.

President Pranab Mukherjee, whose term of office was due to expire on 24 July 2017 declined to seek re-election.

Governor of Bihar Ram Nath Kovind of the Bharatiya Janata Party had the backing of the governing National Democratic Alliance coalition, and went up against opposition candidate Meira Kumar of the Indian National Congress in the vote.

Kovind secured roughly two thirds of the votes from the electoral college of elected members of federal, state and union territory legislatures and was elected to a five-year term as President.

Kovind’s term of office will begin on 25 July 2017.

The President of India is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament, the elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the 29 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

The returning officer for the election was Anoop Mishra, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha.

Born on October 1, 1945 in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat, Ram Nath Kovind was a lawyer by profession. He practised as an advocate for the Central Government at Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. He was a permanent advocate for the Centre at the Supreme Court between 1980 and 1993.

The BJP-led Centre had appointed Ram Nath Kovind, 76, as Bihar Governor in August 2015 with a view to wooing the Dalits in the state Assembly elections held in December that year.

Ram Nath Kovind was a Rajya Sabha member between 1994 and 2006 from Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Kovind is the second Dalit President of India after late President K.R. Narayanan. Also he is the first from Uttar Pradesh and the first person from the BJP to hold the office of President since Independence.

The total number of MPs and MLAs who cast their votes was 4851, bearing a combined value of 1090300.

However, with 77 votes being declared invalid — 21 from Parliament alone — the total number of valid votes was 4774, bearing a combined value of 1069358.

Mr. Kovind polled 2930 of these votes — bearing a value of 702044 — and Ms. Kumar 1844 votes — with a value of 367314.

The value of each vote of an MP was 708. Among the States, each vote in Uttar Pradesh had the highest value of 208, while each vote from Sikkim had the lowest value of seven.

Mr. Kovind got the highest number of votes – 335 – from U.P. and the lowest – just 1 – from Kerala.

Ms. Kumar secured the highest number of votes – 273 – from West Bengal and drew a blank in Andhra Pradesh.

The polling was marked by cross-voting in various States where many Opposition members favoured Mr. Kovind.

Cross-voting took place in Gujarat, Tripura, Goa, Delhi and Maharashtra in favour of Mr. Kovind. As many as 11 Congress MLAs appeared to have voted for Mr. Kovind in Gujarat, a State which is to go for Assembly polls at the end of the year.

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