New Delhi, July 20: Former Bihar Governor and BJP-led NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th Rashtrapati of India. He was declared elected on Thursday by the Secretary General of Lok Sabha.
Kovind, who enjoyed support of some other non-NDA parties secured 7.02,044 value votes as compared to his opponent Congress-led combined opposition nominee and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar who could get 3,67,314 votes only.
Among the MPs Ram Nath Kovind received 522 votes while 225 votes had gone in favour of Meira Kumar. Surprisingly votes of 21 MPs and 16 MLAs were found to be invalid.
After K R Narayanan, Ram Nath Kovind became the second Dalit Rashtrapati of the largest democracy of the world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the newly elected Rashtrapati. In a twitter message he wished Kovind a “fruitful” and “inspiring” tenure as 14th Rashtrapati of India. The Prime Minister also exuded confidence that Kovind “will make an exceptional President”. As an experienced lawyer, his “knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation”, Modi said in his twitter message.
Prime Minister Modi has also shared the memories of his long association with the newly elected Rashtrapati Ram Nath Kovind.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee also congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on his impressive victory at the top constitutional post of the nation. In a twitter message she said that
Ram Nath Kovind, 71, belonged to rural background in UP, is a farmer’s son and known for his humble origins and simple lifestyle. Born on October 1, 1945, he completed his graduation in commerce and obtained a degree in law from Kanpur University.
He later practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India for over 15 years. Kovind, a former president of BJP’s Dalit Morcha also served as party’s official spokesman.
He was a two-time Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh between 1994-2000 and 2000-06. He had worked as top aide to former Janata Party Prime Minister Morarji Desai and represented India at the UN in New York. Besides this, he has been member of several parliamentary committees including a committee on welfare of SC/STs, Social Justice and Empowerment and Law and Justice.
Three years ago he was appointed Governor of Bihar by the Narendra Modi government. He took oath as 36th Governor of Bihar in August 2015. The State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party had supported him in this election, had then voiced his displeasure for not being consulted prior to his appointment as Governor of the state.
The combined opposition candidate former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was destined to lose the battle given the fact that numbers heavily favoured Kovind. But she decided to fight the battle as an ‘ideological contest’.
Meira Kumar, daughter of celebrated Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram from Bihar, who turned the tables on Indira Gandhi during the infamous emergency in 1977, is a veteran politician. She was a minister during the UPA tenure. Meira Kumar had handled the Social Justice and the Water Resources departments in the UPA1 and UPA 2 governments.
She was later elected unopposed as the Speaker of 15th Lok Sabha. She was the first woman and Dalit to head the Lok Sabha.
Meira Kumar had appealed to the MPs and MLAs to vote in the presidential election in the best interest of the country, on principles and ideology and also listen to their ‘inner voice of consciousness.
In his brief address immediately after the result was announced, the newly elected Rashtrapati Ram Nath Kovind humbly thanked all those who supported him. “This is the most emotional moment for me”, he said assuring that he would work for the welfare of all the citizens of the country.
Several ministers including Smruti Irani, Rajnath Singh and leaders of the various political parties and social organisations have congratulated the newly elected Rashtrapati.