New Delhi: On expected lines, UPA candidate and former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday won the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan with a huge margin, leaving his rival PA Sangma bruised.
In a bitterly contested election, Mukherjee secured a vote value of 7,13,763, well ahead of the half-way mark of 5,25,140 in an electoral college of over 10.5 lakh.
His rival PA Sangma, supported by some opposition parties including BJP, could manage get only a vote value 3,15,987.
“I declare that Shri Pranab Mukherjee has been duly elected to the office of President of India,” announced Returning Officer for the Presidential election VK Agnihotri.
In brief comment after being elected to the top post, a beaming Mukherjee pledged to “protect, defend and preserve” the Constitution of India.
“I will try to justify in a modest way as I can to be trustworthy”, he told reporters.
Greetings poured from all over the country on Pranab’s emphatic win.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, many senior Cabinet Ministers, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, chief ministers and Governors of various states congratulated Pranab Mukherjee.
Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker who quit NCP to contest the Presidential race, congratulated Mukherjee and wished him success.
However, he alleged that the election was “exceptionally partisan” as the UPA lured states with “packages, inducements and threats.”