"It was never my goal", he said, and called his election a "symbol of the greatness of Indian democracy". His father had to sell a piece of his farmland to fund Kovind's education. He failed to pass it twice but made it in third attempt. He then chose to practise as a lawyer, first at the Delhi High Court. Elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh, he served two consecutive terms till March 2006. After K R Narayanan, Kovind will be the second Dalit who will occupy the office.
The joint Opposition candidate Kumar had the support of the Congress, of course, as well as of the Nationalist Congress Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the All India Trinamool Congress, the Communist parties, the DMK, and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, among a few others. He said all the MLAs, even those who voted for the BJP, know "that the people of the state are against the BJP government". The figures in Election Commission's booklet on 2017 Presidential elections paints a different picture, as it shows that none of the losing candidates got more votes than Kumar.
The election of Kovind was already a settled affair, given the numerical advantage of the BJP-led NDA in the electoral college.
In Goa, the value of each MLA vote is 20.
Kovind got 7,02,044 votes out of a total of 10,69,358 while his opponent and former Lok Sabha speaker Kumar secured 3,67,314 votes. Kovind received a total of 132 votes from Gujarat. 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 US has congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on his election as the 14th President of India and said it is looking forward to working with him on regional and global issues. Votes of two MLAs have reportedly been cancelled.Though there seems to have been no cross-voting, two votes which should have gone to Kovind have been rejected.
Kovind is known to many as an advocate who champion the rights of women. In West Bengal, opposition parties alleged that the Trinamool MLAs did the cross-voting.
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He said the entire figures are still not available and they will examine them, but expressed satisfaction that opposition unity on the principles of ideology has held together and "people have voted together and people have voted to defend and protect the idea of India".
Mr Kovind's parents used to run a small grocery shop from their thatched-roof house in Paraunkh village, Kanpur Dehat in Uttar Pradesh.
In Tripura, six suspended lawmakers voted for the winning candidate. "Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure", the prime minister tweeted immediately after the results came in.
India's new President Ram Nath Kovind, 71, has always flown under the radar.
BJP President Amit Shah said Kovind's "truly historic" victory was for the poor, downtrodden and the marginalised and their aspirations.
Both Kovind and Kumar belong to the Dalit community, which is at the lowest end of the complex caste hierarchy in Hinduism.
Kumar, on her part, congratulated Kovind, saying it has now fallen on him to uphold the Constitution in letter and spirit in "these challenging times".
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