NEW DELHI, July 22 � Pranab Mukherjee was today elected the next President, trouncing PA Sangma by a huge margin to embark on a new journey capping over four decades of active political innings, reports PTI.
In a virtually one-sided election that saw divisions in the Opposition NDA, the 76-year-old UPA nominee, Mukherjee secured a vote value of 7,13,763, garnering 69.3 per cent of the total 10,29,750 valid votes polled.
Rival PA Sangma, who was backed by BJP and some other Opposition parties like AIADMK and BJD, trailed far behind with 3,15,987 vote value in the polling that saw heavy cross-voting against him by BJP MLAs in Karnataka in favour of Mukherjee.
�I declare that Shri Pranab Mukherjee has been duly elected to the office of President of India,� Returning Officer and Rajya Sabha Secretary General VK Agnihotri after more than seven hours of counting that went on expected lines.
A veteran of politics and art of governance, Mukherjee brings a wealth of experience to the top Constitutional office having held various key positions in the party and government at the Centre.
Troubleshooter for the UPA till recently, Mukherjee will be sworn in as the 13th President on July 25.
In brief comments after being elected, Mukherjee pledged to �protect, defend and preserve� the Constitution. �I will try to justify in a modest way as I can to be trustworthy.�
He said he was overwhelmed by the support he got from people, not limited to the electoral college comprising MPs and MLAs. �I have received much more from the country, its political establishment and Parliament than what I have given.�
Congratulations poured in from all over with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and senior ministers making a beeline to his 13, Talkatora Road residence to greet him. Vice President Hamid Ansari called him to congratulate.
Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker who split from his party NCP to contest the election, congratulated Mukherjee and wished him success.
The run-up to the election was not without drama with key UPA allies Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party proposing the names of APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee, sending shock waves in the Congress.
But the whole situation changed after Samajwadi Party ditched Trinamool Congress and BSP, and joined the chorus of support to Mukherjee. Adding to this, BJP allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena broke ranks from NDA, setting the path of victory for the UPA nominee much before the polling on July 19.
BJP, which adopted Sangma whose name was propped up by AIADMK and BJD keeping in view the 2014 Lok Sabla polls, congratulated Mukherjee.
�Once he becomes the President, he is our President,� said BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Mukherjee, who defeated Sangma by a margin of 3,97,776 vote value, established a clear lead throughout the counting of 4,659 votes polled by MPs and MLAs, out of which 4,578 were valid.
Out of 748 MPs, who had voted, he secured 527 votes with a value of 3,73,116 against 206 for Sangma which has a value of 1,45,848.
Fifteen votes were invalid, besides that of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav which was declared as cancelled. Of the invalid votes, nine were to be in favour of Mukherjee while six for Sangma.
In the States too, Mukherjee established a clear lead except in the BJP-ruled States. But the ruling BJP suffered a humiliation in Karnataka when Mukherjee got 117 votes against BJP�s 103 in the 224-member Assembly.
In Kerala it was a clean sweep for Mukherjee as he won all the 124 votes polled while one was invalid. Sangma drew a blank. CPI and RSP members abstained from voting in the State which has a 140-member Assembly.
In Andhra Pradesh, which has a 294-member Assembly, Mukherjee got the support of 182 MLAs including that of Congress and YSR Congress while Sangma got the backing of three. Five were invalid.
In terms of vote value, Mukherjee got 26,936 while Sangma 444. A total of 190 MLAs voted because TDP and TRS abstained. Each MLA in Andhra Pradesh has a vote value of 148.
Mukherjee kept up his lead even in Arunachal Pradesh, where he got 54 of the 59 votes polled. The vote value corresponded to 432 for Mukherjee, while it was 16 for Sangma. Three votes were invalid.
In the 126-member Assam Assembly, Mukherjee got 110 votes while Sangma got 13. Two votes were invalid while one did not vote. In terms of vote value, Mukherjee got 12,760 while Sangma got 1,508.
In Bihar too, where the ruling JD(U) has declared support for Mukherjee, the UPA candidate got 146 out of the 240 votes polled in the 243 member Assembly. Sangma got 90, mostly from BJP, which shares power with JD(U).
Mukherjee�s vote value in in the State was 25,258 while for Sangma it was 15,570. Three votes were invalid while one did not not vote.
In the 90-member Assembly Chhattisgarh which is ruled by BJP, 39 votes went to Mukherjee while Sangma got 50. One vote was invalid. In terms of vote value, Mukherjee got 5,031 while Sangma got 6,450.
Mukherjee got 59 votes and Sangma 123 votes in 182-member Gujarat Assembly where BJP has the majority. In terms of vote value, Mukherjee got 8,673 while Sangma got 18,081.
In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, Mukherjee got 60 votes while Sangma won 20. Mukherjee�s vote value is 10,560 while Sangma�s stands at 3,520.