Now, they have entrusted me with the responsibility to protect, to defend and to preserve the Constitution as President of the Republic. I will try to justify, in a modest way as I can, to be trustworthy to the people.
Mr Pranab Mukherjee, one of the most experienced administrators, will be India’s thirteenth President.
As expected, the former Finance Minister was declared the winner here on Sunday, defeating the former Speaker and Opposition candidate, Mr P. A. Sangma.
The returning officer for the election, Mr V. K. Agnihotri, said Mr Mukherjee polled 3,095 votes out the total 4,659 votes. Mr Sangma got 1,483 votes. 81 votes, including 15 votes by MPs, were declared invalid.
“I declare that Shri Pranab Mukherjee has been duly elected to the office of President of India,” Mr Agnihotri said, adding that the election was “free and fair.” The counting, which started at 11 am ended at around 7 in the evening.
The total value of the votes was 1,047,971. Mr Mukherjee secured a vote value of 713,763 (69.3 per cent) while Mr Sangma got votes with value of 315,987 (30.7 per cent).
“I received much more (from the people) than (what) I have given them,” Mr Mukherjee said.
The former Finance Minister said he would continue to serve the people in his new capacity as President. “I would like to thank the people of this great country for conferring this distinction by electing me to the high office,” he said after the announcement of the results.
Mr Mukherjee also thanked the MPs and MLAs who participated in the elections.
“Now, they have entrusted me with the responsibility to protect, to defend and to preserve the Constitution as President of the Republic. I will try to justify, in a modest way as I can, to be trustworthy to the people,” he added.
There was some cross voting in the election. While Mr Mukherjee got 13 votes more from the Karnataka Assembly than he expected, Mr Sangma got 15 votes from the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
The election is all set to create a legal controversy as the Opposition is going to file an election petition in the Supreme Court against Mr Mukherjee within a month.
Sources in the BJP said there was “enough evidence” to prove that Mr Mukherjee did not properly resign from three official posts that he was holding. “The new President will get a notice from the Supreme Court soon,” a leader quipped.
Greetings poured from all over with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, Mr Rahul Gandhi and senior Ministers making a beeline to his 13, Talkatora Road residence. The Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari, called him to offer his congratulations.