This Independence Day, as India steps into its 71st year of Independence (completing the 70th year); it shall also have a new President in the Office as Mr.Pranab Mukherjee steps down this week. The election for deciding the new president was conducted on 17th July, with Mr. Ramnath Kovind (former Governor of Bihar) being the NDA nominee and former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar being the opposition’s candidate.
The odds are in favor of Mr. Kovind since he already enjoys the support of several political parties on the State level like the AIADMK from Tamil Nadu and is supported by the BJP-led NDA, while Meira Kumar was nominated by 17 parties of the opposition. The elections took place between 10AM-5PM in the Parliament House at New Delhi, and in all State Legislative Assembly Secretariats in every State. The election was conducted by the Election Commission of India, which had arranged for special Green Ballot papers for the MPs to cast their votes on, and Pink Ballot papers for MLAs from the States to vote on. The Ballot boxes from the States were flown to Delhi, for the counting of votes scheduled to be held on 20th July. The swearing in ceremony of the new President is to take place on 25th July.
The voting recorded a remarkable turnout of over 99%, with 714 MPs casting their votes in the Parliament, and 42 voting in the West Bengal Assembly. The total value of votes of the Electoral College comprising of 776 MPs and 4120 MLAs is 10,98,903.
Mr. Kovind is a lawyer, who graduated LL.B from the Kanpur University and Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1994 and had served as a member of several important parliamentary Committees.
Meira Kumar is a former IFS officer who had joined service in 1975 and entered politics in 1985, and had served in the Congress-led UPA Government as the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment from 2004 to 2009.
While all the speculations are in favor of Mr. Kovind, India is still looking towards 20th July for the declaration of the results naming our new President.