Pranab is lucky 13th
Sweeps Prez Poll With 69% Of Valid Votes
Vishwa Mohan TNN
New Delhi: Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee’s big win in the presidential election — which will make him the 13th occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan — marks the return of an active politician at Raisina Hill after three successive Presidents who were either past their prime in politics or did not have a political background at all.
Since July 1997, when K R Narayanan became President, the high office has been held by missile man A P J Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil whose careers had peaked, while Mukherjee was a hands-on politician playing a crucial role in UPA affairs.
Unlike his predecessors who were picked as safe choices by the
ruling establishment of the day, Mukherjee sought the job and even bent his party to his will, aided by some ill-timed pressure tactics by Congress ally Mamata Banerjee that yielded unexpected results.
Interestingly, Mukherjee will move to Rashtrapati Bhavan from 13 Talkatora Road, a fact that may interest the numerologically inclined. Those who know Mukherjee say his sense of the Constitution, politics and grasp of governance make him his own man who cannot be taken for granted as President. Mukherjee made the point, saying he would try and fulfill expectations to “defend, preserve and protect” the Constitution.
Mukherjee polled a vote value of 7.14 lakh or about 69.3% of the valid votes in the electoral college — aided by cross-voting from BJP legislators in Karnataka. The Opposition nominee, former Speaker PA Sangma, secured a vote value of 3.16 lakh, handing Mukherjee a handsome margin.
After the result was finally out on Sunday evening, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, accompanied by son Rahul, called on Mukherjee to congratulate him. The presence of Rahul was noted, particularly in the context of his announcement that he was accepting a more active role in Congress affairs.
Soon after, PM Manmohan Singh reached Mukherjee’s residence where celebrations were underway since the afternoon when his tally crossed the halfway mark.
Cross-voting by BJP MLAs in Karnataka, where the party is in majority, saw Mukherjee gaining a lead of 117 votes to Sangma’s 103.
States got funds to back Pranab: Sangma
NDA’s defeated presidential candidate P A Sangma congratulated Pranab Mukherjee but alongside, accused the UPA of doling out economic packages to states to swing support for him. “For election to the Lok Sabha and assembly, there is a code of conduct for free and fair elections. Such a code of conduct does not exist for presidential and vice-presidential elections… Rs 57,000 crore was given to UP, Rs 27,000 crore to Bihar…,” Sangma said. “Everybody knows that the so-called economic packages have gone in a very big way. We all know that there have been some threats, be it Mulayam Singh or Mayawati.”
1st active neta to enter Raisina in over a decade
After more than five decades of fine innings in politics and weathering many a political storm, Pranab Mukherjee is a quintessential politician — a strategist, a troubleshooter and, above all, someone who can cross over the barrier to buy out support from the rival camps. It’s for the first time in over a decade that an active politician is stepping into the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mukherjee’s major acid test will be the next general election if it throws up a fractured verdict. It’s widely expected that Pranab will bring into Raisina a sharp political mind and a wealth of experience. The days to come will testify to this. BIGGER MARGIN THAN EXPECTED
UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee polled 7.14 lakh votes, or nearly 69% of valid electoral college votes, thrashing P A Sangma who got 3.16 lakhPranab got
more than 7.11 lakh committed votes of UPA and parties like JD(U) & Shiv Sena
Sangma’s committed support was around 3.10 lakh votes. He gained from additional votes in states like W Bengal As many as 15 votes cast by MPs were invalid, including nine for Pranab UPA had
votes of MPs, got 527. One Oppn MP cross-voted. In all, 81 votes termed invalid In BJP-ruled
Karnataka, Pranab got 117 votes to Sangma’s 103. In Jharkhand, vote again showed up divide in NDA