INDA’s presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu on Thursday became the first tribal woman to be elected as President of India by defeating her rival, opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, by a margin of 947 votes, bagging 64.03% of the electoral college votes against Sinha’s share of 35.97%.
Murmu, 64, is only the second former member of BJP after President Ram Nath Kovind to be elected President. She bagged votes from a total of 2,824 electors, including 540 MPs, while Sinha won the support of 1,877 electors, including 208 MPs.
Though the results of the presidential contest were a foregone conclusion, and the opposition managers had no illusions about the eventual verdict, the anti-BJP bloc can derive some satisfaction from the fact that their tally was better than what they had achieved five years ago when the NDA nominee beat opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar.
In fact, Murmu’s first preference vote share – 64.03% – is the lowest since President V V Giri’s 48.01% in the 1969 presidential polls.
However, there are doubts that the opposition managed to achieve the objective they sought to realise by pitching this as a battle of ideologies. The support of parties like BSP and JD(S) for Murmu, the last-minute dramatic defection of her fellow Santhal, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, and confusing messages from senior figures like TMC boss Mamata Banerjee muddied the message.