Meira Kumar, the Oppostion's joint nominee, may have lost the presidential elections, but even in defeat, she has her own silver lining to cheer about. According to a report by Deccan Herald, Kumar has polled the highest votes by a losing candidate.
Kumar, who sought to fight a battle of ideologies urging legislators to heed their voice of conscience, polled in 1,844 votes with a value of 3,67,314. A total of 4,896 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — were eligible to cast their ballot. This is despite the fact that more than 100 legislators cross-voted, apparently in favour of Kovind, a report in Hindustan Times stated.
The report states that Kovind's overall vote value was 661 points more than the assured value of 701,382, calculated after factoring in the support of NDA parties and some opposition parties who declared support for the BJP nominee. In contrast, Kumar’s total vote value stood at 367,314.
Kovind received 2930 votes against Kumar's 1844 votes, with a vote share of 65.65 percent for the President-elect. However, the victory margin is the lowest since the 1974 presidential poll.
According to Election Commission data, the lowest margin of victory for any presidential poll was during the 1969 election when then president VV Girri secured just 48 percent of the total votes winning over Neelam Sanjeev Reddy.
However, the only losing candidate to have come closest to Kumar's record was former Chief Justice of India Koka Subba Rao, who contested the 1967 election as a candidate of united opposition parties, like Kumar. He lost the polls to Zakir Hussain but secured a record 3.63 lakh votes, NDTV reported. However, Justice Rao, who quit the judiciary to contest the presidential elections, still holds the record for being the losing candidate with the highest percentage of vote share at 43 percent. Kumar lags by about 10 percentage points, the NDTV report added.
The low percentage in winning margins was often attributed to the so-called 'syndicate' within the Congress, which indulged in cross-voting. This year too, the talks of cross-voting have embarrassed the grand old party with BJP leaders taking dig at the Opposition in the backdrop of the Congress' call for a united Opposition.
KR Narayanan (1997), incidentally the only Dalit to hold the highest constitutional post before Kovind, holds the record for winning the polls with the highest victory percentages since 1974, with 94.97 percent victory margin. Besides Narayanan, only two presidents — Rajendra Prasad (98.99 per cent) in 1957, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (98.24 per cent) in 1962 — secured over 90 per cent of the votes.
Only Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, in 1977, holds the record to be elected unopposed to the top constitutional post.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jul 21, 2017 09:19:46 IST