UPA candidate Mr Pranab Mukherjee is virtually set to become the 14th President of India tomorrow when the counting and declaration of results of the July 19 poll takes place.

Mr Mukherjee’s romp home to victory has been ensured after Mr Mamata Banerjee-led TMC announced its support to him. Other than all the UPA allies, parties such as SP and BSP as well as the Left are supporting the former Finance Minister.

Congress-led UPA has claimed Mr Mukherjee will win around 70 per cent of the votes in the direct contest with Mr P.A. Sangma, the former Lok Sabha Speaker, who is backed by some Opposition parties.

Counting of ballots of MPs as well as MLAs from all the states will begin in the capital tomorrow morning and the result is expected by late afternoon, according to officials. As per the norm, the ballot boxes from the states have been brought here for the counting.

The polling percentage has been less than expected this time with only 72 per cent of the total votes — valued at 11 lakh — polled. Of the total votes polled — estimated to be around 8 lakh — Mr Mukherjee is expecting around 5.6 lakh votes.

As of now, only the vote of Samajwadi Party Chief, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been declared invalid by the Election Commission on the ground that he violated the code of secrecy by revealing his vote.

Mr Yadav had initially voted for Mr Sangma and then torn the ballot paper when he realised his mistake.

Mr Kanu Kalsaria, BJP MLA from Mahuva in Gujarat, voted for Mr Mukherjee and openly declared that he did so as he is unhappy with the functioning of the Narendra Modi Government.

The new President will be administered the oath of office by the Chief Justice of India on July 25.

(This article was published on July 21, 2012)
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