July 22, 2012 10:02:52 pm
Forty three years after he first entered the Rajya Sabha,Pranab Mukherjee today became the 14th President of the country winning 69.3 per cent of the total 10,29,750 votes polled.
In his first public comments after crossing the halfway mark,he promised to do his best to protect,defend and preserve the Constitution. I have received much more from the country,its political establishment and Parliament than what I have given. I will try to justify in a modest way as I can to be trustworthy.
Senior leaders started making a beeline for Mukherjees resident at 13,Talkatora Road,on Sunday even before the results were formally announced,as it became clear that the Congress veteran was well ahead of his NDA rival P A Sangma.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Congress president Sonia Gandhi with son Rahul,Home Minister P Chidambaram,Defence Minister A K Antony,Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and UPA partner and DMK leader T R Baalu were among the first to drop in. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee,who had initially opposed Mukherjees candidature and only supported him reluctantly later,called up to congratulate him. She said she would be present for Mukherjees swearing-in on July 25.
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While also extending his congratulations,Sangma didnt hide his disappointment. He alleged use of political maoeuvres by the UPA to garner support for Mukherjee and sought a model code of conduct for presidential election too.
The election process was exceptionally partisan and political,through economic and other packages,inducements and threats, Sangma said addressing a press conference. As in the case of elections for the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies,there should be a model code of conduct for free and fair election.
He directly referred to the Rs 27,000 crore annual plan outlay for Bihar and the Rs 57,000 crore plan outlay for Uttar Pradesh approved after the announcement of the presidential election,saying these so-called economic packages played a big role.
Having raised objections to Mukherjees candidature over the issue of office of profit,Sangma did not rule out approaching the court to seek relief. Day after tomorrow,we will take a decision, he said.
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