Ram Nath Kovind, the ruling NDA coalition’s candidate, may have won the presidential election comfortably, but his vote share is the lowest since 1974, figures reveal. Kovind polled 7,02,044 votes out of 10,90,300 in the Electoral College, while his rival Meira Kumar, the joint opposition candidate, secured 3,67,314 votes. This comes to a vote share of 65.65 per cent for the President-elect. However, the victory margin is the lowest since the 1974 presidential poll. According to Election Commission data, Kovind’s immediate predecessor Pranab Mukherjee (2012) secured 69.31 per cent votes while Pratibha Patil (2007) got 65.82 per cent of the total votes, marginally higher than the share secured by Kovid.
In the 2012 polls, out of 10,29,750 votes, Mukherjee bagged 7,13,763 votes, while in 2007, Patil bagged 6,38,116 of the total 9,69,422 votes polled. K R Narayanan (1997) and A P J Abdul Kalam (2002) bagged 94.97 per cent and 89.57 per cent respectively, the highest victory percentages since 1974. Only Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, in 1977, was elected unopposed to the top constitutional post. Gyani Zail Singh (1982) got 72.73 per cent votes, while R Venkatraman (1987) bagged 72.28 per cent. Shankar Dayal Sharma (1992) got 65.87 per cent.
Besides Narayanan, only two presidents — Rajendra Prasad (98.99 per cent) in 1957, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (98.24 per cent) in 1962 — secured over 90 per cent of the votes. In the first presidential election, Prasad bagged 83.81 votes. The lowest margin of victory for any presidential poll was during the 1969 election when then president V V Girri secured just 48 per cent of the total votes. The low percentage is often attributed to a so-called ‘syndicate’ within the Congress. Fifteen candidates were the in the fray in this poll, the highest in any presidential election. Girri’s predecessor Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed bagged 56.23 per cent votes in 1967