Sonia Gandhi congratulates Ram Nath Kovind

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi had endorsed the appeal. The BJP is also trying to promote itself as pro-poor, pro-Dalit political outfit.

The NDA candidate's victory against Kumar was a foregone conclusion because nearly 40 parties, including many from outside the NDA fold, pledged to support him. Kovind's maiden visit to the erstwhile capital city of Vijayanagar empire was in 2011, when he was busy with the organisational work of the BJP.

Kovind will be the first BJP member to be elected president. "It has been raining since morning in Delhi".

On Thursday, Kovind noted that it had been raining in New Delhi since the morning, and the monsoon season reminded him of his childhood and their village home built of mud walls and a roof that leaked.

After his thumping victory, Kovind reminisced his early life in his native village where he used to reside in a small mud house with his siblings. The straw roof would not be able to stop water during rains. I, along with my brothers and sisters, used to stand in a corner and wait for the rain to stop. "I represent all those hardworking people".

BJP state President Nityanand Rai, besides congratulating Mr. Kovind, also gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national President Amit Shah for picking the ex-Governor of Bihar for the post of presidency.

Kovind, the ruling NDA coalition's candidate, was today elected as India's 14th president with an overwhelming majority of votes from the country's lawmakers. Sources say he was drawn more to the politics of social empowerment of Dalits and other weaker sections than the plank of religion. As many as 11 Congress MLAs appeared to have voted for Mr. Kovind in Gujarat, a State which is to go for Assembly polls at the end of the year. Due to his already growing reputation as a high-profile advocate and social activist, he was elected to become a member of the Rajya Sabha from the state of UP in April, 1994. Among the States, each vote in Uttar Pradesh had the highest value of 208, while each vote from Sikkim had the lowest value of seven. In Maharashtra, Meira Kumar won 77 votes, 10 less than expected. With cross-voting done by at least four legislators in favour of the NDA candidate, the question now in Congress is who these four MLAs are.

The value of MP votes received by Kovind was 369,576 and that by Kumar was 159,300.

Surjewala said Kovind had got 65.66 per cent votes against the claims of BJP leaders that their candidate would get 70 per cent. In Jammu and Kashmir, we got 58 instead of 56. However, instead of 6, Kovind got a total of 11votes in WB. In Madhya Pradesh, we got 171, we were expecting 165.

Expressing her best wishes to Kovind, she said the president enjoys a unique position as defender and protector of the Constitution and upholder of democratic traditions. However, it is not yet clear whether the rejected votes were from the political parties or Independents.

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