Pranab Mukherjee won a highly politicised presidential election as the UPA’s candidate with a huge margin on Sunday, capping a long political career that saw him serve with three prime ministers. Some analysts believe Mukherjee, a veteran from the ruling Congress party, may take a more active approach to the job than his predecessors as India struggles with a parliamentary deadlock and slowing economic growth.
Mukherjee, who polled 69.3% of the total value of valid votes, defeated Purno Agitok Sangma, a veteran parliamentarian backed by the main opposition party BJP and some key regional parties, such as the BJD and AIADMK. Mukherjee, who will be sworn in on July 25, is set to be India’s 13th head of state, but will assume the 14th presidential office since Rajendra Prasad served two consecutive terms. Mukherjee replaces Pratibha Patil, India’s first woman President.
After his great victory today, Mukherjee said, “Now I have been entrusted with the responsibility to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution. I will try to justify in a modest way as I can to be trustworthy.”
“I would like to thank the people of this great country for conferring this distinction by electing me to this high office,” Mukherjee told crowds of cheering supporters gathered outside his residence in New Delhi.
“They have entrusted me with the responsibility to protect, to defend, to preserve the constitution as president of the republic.”, He added.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi were among the early visitors at Mukherjee’s residence to congratulate him.
It was an easy win for Mukherjee, having crossed the half-way mark of 5,14,876 in vote value (from the total value of 10,29,750 of valid votes in the electoral college) even as votes from 10 states were yet to be counted. The results revealed cross-voting in Mukherjee’s favour in the BJP-ruled states of Karnataka, Jharkhand and Gujarat by the party’s legislators.....
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