The Election Commission data reveals that President-elect Ram Nath Kovind has secured lowest vote percentage in a presidential election since 1974 despite comfortably winning the contest against his rival Meira Kumar.
Kovind received 2,930 votes with a value of 7,02,044, while his rival Meira Kumar, the joint opposition candidate, secured 1,844 votes with a value of 3,67,314. This comes to a vote share of 65.65% 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% votes while Pratibha Patil (2007) got 65.82% of the total votes, marginally higher than the share secured by Kovind.
KR Narayanan (1997) and APJ Abdul Kalam (2002) bagged 94.97% and 89.57% 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% votes, while R Venkatraman (1987) bagged 72.28%. Shankar Dayal Sharma (1992) got 65.87%.
Besides Narayanan, only two presidents -- Rajendra Prasad (98.99%) in 1957, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (98.24%) in 1962 -- secured over 90% 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 VV Girri secured just 48% 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% votes in 1967.
(With PTI inputs)