Pranab Mukherjee elected the new President of India

Prez poll

Pranab Mukherjee was today elected the next President trouncing P A Sangma by a huge margin to embark on a new journey capping over four decades of active political innings.

In a virtually one-side 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 P A 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 V K 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 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.

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