Presidential Election Sees Nearly 99% Voting, Ram Nath Kovind Set For Easy Win: 10 Points
In today's Presidential election, 4,895 legislators across the country - parliamentarians and legislators - voted. The National Democratic Alliance or NDA is confident that Ram Nath Kovind will get about 70 per cent of the votes.
Presidential election 2017: The contest is between NDA's Ram Nath Kovind and opposition's Meira Kumar
New Delhi: Ram Nath Kovind is set for an easy win in today's election for the next President of India versus Meira Kumar, with the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance confident that the former Bihar Governor will get about 70 per cent of the votes. Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has been fielded by the opposition, which has pitched the contest as a battle of ideologies. The poll saw nearly 99 per cent voting, the returning officer said, adding it was perhaps the highest ever percentage in a presidential election. Votes will be counted on Thursday.
Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Puducherry recorded 100 per cent voting. "The voting was close to 99 per cent. I think this would perhaps be the highest ever percentage," Lok Sabha Secretary General and returning officer for the election Anoop Mishra said at a press conference in Delhi.
Ballot boxes from the states will be flown to Delhi and stored in Room 62 in Parliament. Votes will be counted and results will be announced on Thursday, July 20. The new President will take oath on Tuesday, July 25.
Ram Nath Kovind, 71, is backed not just by the NDA but also several regional parties like Tamil Nadu's AIADMK. The government says it has the support of 44 parties from across the country and expects to get nearly 70 per cent of the total votes.
Meira Kumar said, "I have asked members of the collegium to pay heed to their voice of inner conscience."
A 17-member bloc of opposition parties had announced Meira Kumar's candidacy days after the BJP named its nominee. PM Modi's choice of a Dalit candidate was seen as a masterstroke to divide the opposition and keep allies together as well as a move to consolidate its growing support among politically vital backward castes.
By also fielding a Dalit leader, the opposition retained the support of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who draws her core support from the community. "After the election, who so ever wins, it is going to be a Dalit President. So it is great for the country," Ms Maywati said today.
As he arrived in Parliament today, PM Modi said the Monsoon session that begins today will be "a good one," and thanked all parties for their contribution in launching mega reform the Goods and Services Tax or GST. "Growing Stronger Together is the other name of GST, the PM said, hoping that the spirit of cooperation would continue to mark the session.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) broke ranks with the opposition to support for Ram Nath Kovind and the BJP's partner Shiv Sena, which has in the last two Presidential elections voted against its own alliance, too has supported Mr Kovind.
Mr Kumar's support to Mr Kovind came as a big blow to the opposition, which had picked the Presidential elections as an occasion to forge an anti-BJP bloc ahead of the 2019 general elections. His choice also revealed his growing rift with Lalu Yadav, his partner in Bihar, triggering speculation about a split.