[Ram Nath Kovind, the newly elected President of India, with Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari in a file photo.]
New Delhi: Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA candidate who was close to RSS though not a formal member of the hardline Hindutva organisation, was on Thurdsay elected as India's 14th president winning won nearly 66 per cent of the votes cast by the electoral college of MPs and state lawmakers.
Former Governor of Bihar and long term member of the ruling BJP, Ram Nath Kovind defeated opposition's Meira Kumar and daughter of veteran freedom fighter Babu Jagjivan Ram, a former Lok Sabha speaker, the Returning Officer for the poll announced today.
The 71-year old, who will be the second Dalit to hold the top constitutional position, received 2930 votes with a value of 702044, the returning officer, Anoop Mishra, said.
Kovind will be the first BJP member to be elected president.
Meira Kumar, also a Dalit, polled in 1844 votes with a value of 367314.
A total of 4,896 voters -- 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs -- were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.
While the value of an MLA's vote depends on the population of his or her state, the value of an MP's vote remains the same at 708.
The counting of votes revealed that cross-voting took place in states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Bengal. Votes from some 4,000 lawmakers in parliament and state assemblies were counted in parliament to elect the constitutional head.
Kovind, who resigned as Bihar Governor the day his name was announced for the presidential race, has been a BJP MP and is deeply associated with the party's ideological mentor RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The presidential poll on Monday saw nearly 99 per cent voting, the highest ever, according to returning officer said. Polling was held simultaneously at 32 polling stations -- one in Parliament House and one each in 29 state assemblies and two union territories with assemblies.