With nearly 70% of the electoral college votes, the NDA candidate for the president, Ram Nath Kovind is all set to become the 14th President of India. In all permutation and combination, the opposition candidate Meira Kumar, who has been able to garner the support of 17 opposition parties will lose the election with significant margin.
A total of 95 candidates filed nominations for the post of the president, of which 93 were rejected on various grounds, leaving only Ram Nath Kovind and Opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the race. A total of 4,896 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — are eligible to cast their ballot. The parties cannot issue a whip to their members to vote for a particular candidate as the election is through a secret ballot. A total of 32 polling stations — one in Parliament House and one each in the state legislative Assemblies — have been set up. Thirty-three observers have been appointed by the EC to oversee the election. While two observers will be present in Parliament House, one each will be deployed at the Assemblies.
Both the candidates campaigned across the country. While Ram Nath Kovind has been able to get the support of non-NDA parties like JD(U) and TRS, Meira Kumar could not convince some of the congress ally like JD(U).
Congress president Sonia Gandhi sought “a vote of conscience”, calling the contest “a clash of ideas and a conflict of disparate values”. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said it would have been better if the President had been chosen by consensus. “However, it is a matter of satisfaction and pride that the election campaign has been a dignified one. All the political parties need to be congratulated. All parties must train their MPs and MLAs to cast their votes so that not a single vote is wasted,” he added.
Congress president said that the numbers may be against the Opposition, but “the battle must be fought and fought hard”. “We cannot and must not let India be hostage to those who wish to impose upon it a narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision,” she said.
The most decisive blow to Opposition candidate came from JD(U), a Congress ally in Bihar, which decided to back Kovind after being the first to moot the idea of putting up a joint candidate against the NDA’s. Taking the JD(U)’s cue, other parties had later lined up behind Kovind. According to reports, from 28 parties backing him initially, now Kovind has support of 42 parties.