M A I N   N E W S

Pranab is Mr President
UPA nominee wins hands down, to be sworn in 13th Prez on July 25
Anita Katyal/TNS

New Delhi, July 22
Ruling UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee will be India’s 13th President. He will take oath in the Central Hall of Parliament on Wednesday at 11.30 am.
Mukherjee is the first person from West Bengal to occupy the top Constitutional post and the third MP to be elevated to the office of President after Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Zail Singh.

Massive margin

  • Mukherjee won the sweepstakes with a massive margin, bagging 713,763 votes, about 70 per cent, leaving Sangma way behind with 315,887 votes. Sangma projected himself as a representative of "tribals," but his sales pitch simply did not work. 

Expectedly, the Presidential election was a one-sided affair. Mukherjee raced to an emphatic victory, securing a vote value of 7,13,763 and getting 69.3 per cent of the 10,29,750 valid votes polled. Opposition-backed candidate PA Sangma was way behind with 3,15,987 vote value in the election that showed up the fault-lines in the BJP’s Karnataka unit as a number of its party legislators voted in favour of Mukherjee.

After a day-long count, returning officer for the Presidential election VK Agnihotri announced the result in the evening after which he drove to Mukherjee’s residence to hand over the certificate declaring that he had been duly elected to the office of President.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were among the first visitors to greet Mukherjee on his victory. Congratulations poured in from across the country. Key UPA ally Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who had initially opposed Mukherjee’s candidature but then decided to support him, was among the first to call him up and has promised to attend the swearing-in on Wednesday.

Looking visibly humbled at his massive victory, the country’s President-elect thanked the people for his election to the highest office and promised to defend and preserve the Constitution. “It would now be my responsibility to defend and protect the Constitution as President... I would try to justify in modest way to be trustworthy of my people,” he said.

Sangma may move court

  • PA Sangma on Sunday congratulated Pranab Mukherjee and wished him success but did not rule out moving court on the election, saying its process was "exceptionally partisan". He alleged that non-UPA-ruled states were lured with packages and inducements and even given threats. 

If Mukherjee betrayed any emotion on his election, it was only to be expected. Having been in active politics for over four decades, he is now set to begin a new journey which, he admitted recently, is uncharted territory for him. “I know how the Constitution functions and how the President communicates with the government but I am completely in the dark about what awaits me ahead,” he said recently. While Mukherjee prepares for his new role, his presence in the Congress and the UPA government will be missed given the numerous responsibilities that he handled as a senior minister, Lok Sabha leader, head of numerous groups of ministers and as a political strategist and troubleshooter.

While Mukherjee was busy greeting visitors through the day, he kept himself abreast of poll trends from Parliament House where the counting of votes was underway. Mukherjee established an early lead winning 527 of the 748 votes of MPs while Sangma polled 206 votes. While the Congress-ruled states, the North-Eastern states as well as Uttar Pradesh and Bengal voted overwhelmingly in his favour, Sangma scored in the BJP-ruled states along with Odisha and Tamil Nadu as his candidature had been endorsed by the CMs of these two states.





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