New Delhi: After eight rounds of counting today, Ram Nath Kovind has been elected as the 14th President of India. National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Kovind secured over 65% of votes over rival Meira Kumar, who was backed by the Congress and other opposition parties.

Given NDA’s clear advantage in terms of votes, Kumar had described her candidature against Kovind more as the “battle of ideology". Both candidates come from the marginalised dalit community.

Before contesting Presidential elections, the 71-year-old Kovind was serving as the governor of Bihar. He will be only the second dalit leader after K.R. Narayanan since independence to occupy India’s highest Constitutional post.

Here are the latest updates and developments as the counting of votes for the election of 14th President of India begins:

■ BJP veteran L K Advani congratulated President-elect Ram Nath Kovind on his victory. Soon after he came to know of Kovind’s win in the presidential election, Advani spoke to him and gave him his best wishes.

■ Leaders of the two factions in the ruling AIADMK, chief minister K. Palaniswami and his predecessor O. Panneerselvam, today greeted Ram Nath Kovind on his winning the Presidential polls.

Palaniswami congratulated Kovind for his “resounding victory." “I wish to convey to you my own felicitations and also those of the people of Tamil Nadu for a historic tenure in Rashtrapati Bhavan," he said in a letter to the NDA candidate.

Panneerselvam expressed “great joy" on Kovind winning the presidential polls. “Having been elected as the first citizen of India, we wish Mr Ramnath Kovind name and fame due to his skill and service," Panneerselvam said in a statement.

The rebel AIADMK leader also greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah.

Both the Amma and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma factions of the ruling AIADMK, led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, respectively, had supported Kovind in the 17 July poll held to elect the president. (PTI)

■ West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today congratulated Ram Nath Kovind for winning the presidential election defeating opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar.

“Congratulations to Ram Nath Kovind Ji, who will be our next President," Banerjee said in a tweet. (PTI)

■ Kerala governor P. Sathasivam today congratulated Ram Nath Kovind, on his victory in the Presidential election.

In a message, the governor expressed the hope that with his vast and varied experience and dedication, Kovind would succeed in guiding the Nation to new heights of growth and development. (PTI)

■ A festive atmosphere prevailed today at the 10 Akbar Road bungalow where president-elect Ram Nath Kovind has been staying since filing his nomination for the top constitutional post. Flower pots were lined up at the main entrance while several baskets of flowers, including choicest roses, were taken inside the bungalow premises, to welcome Kovind. (PTI)

■ Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar today greeted Ram Nath Kovind on being elected President of the country.

Kumar, also JD(U) president, called up Kovind and extended his greetings and wishes to him, an official statement said here.

Nitish Kumar broke ranks with opposition and pledged JD(U) support to him in presidential poll. Kumar cited his role as Governor of Bihar as a reason for supporting him.

Kovind, the NDA candidate, was today elected as the country’s 14th president defeating opposition’s nominee Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker. (PTI)

■ Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today congratulated the NDA’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind on being elected as India’s 14th President and described him as a “self-made man".

The 90-year-old Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch said Kovind’s victory is a win for rational forces that wanted to take the country forward. The SAD also appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision in nominating a “farmer’s son" for the coveted office.

“We would like to congratulate Shri Kovind for the manner in which he managed to take everyone along. It was due to his personality and deeds," Parkash said.

The SAD leader said Kovind was also a role model for India’s youth. (PTI)

■ Ram Nath Kovind: “I thank all those who supported me from across the country. I feel very emotional today and I will represent all those struggling to make a living. I never aspired to be the president. My win is a message to those discharging their duties with integrity. My election as the president is evidence of the greatness of Indian democracy." (PTI)

■ BJP chief Amit Shah today hailed as “historic" the election of NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind as the next president and said it is a “victory for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised and their aspirations". In a series of tweets after Kovind was declared victorious in the presidential poll, Shah expressed confidence that he would distinguish himself as an exceptional president of the country. (PTI)

■ “My best wishes to Kovind ji, it is up to him to uphold the Constitution in letter and spirit in these challenging times. I want to thank opposition leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi. My fight for secularism to continue," says Meira Kumar. (PTI)

■ Leaders from both the ruling and opposition parties extend their greetings to President-elect Ram Nath Kovind.

Home minister Rajnath Singh: “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji on his successful election as the President of India. I wish him success and a great future."

I&B and textiles minister Smriti Irani: “Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji’s rich experience in public life will enrich the office of President of India."

Food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal: “Heartiest congrats to Sh. RamNathKovind ji for an overwhelming win in the Presidential Elections to become the 14th president of India."

■ PM Narendra Modi also congratulates opposition nominee Meira Kumar for her campaign, says it was in spirit of democratic ethos and values which “we all are proud of". (PTI)

■ PM Narendra Modi congratulates Ram Nath Kovind on his election as President. The PM says he is gladdened by the extensive support he got. (PTI)

■ The BJP today took a swipe at the opposition’s presidential candidate Meira Kumar’s claim of fighting an ideological contest, saying she represented the dynasty culture of the Congress while its candidate Ram Nath Kovind showed its commitment to the marginalised groups. (PTI)

■ Lok Sabha secretary general, Anup Mishra declares the results saying “Ram Nath Kovind has been elected as the new President of India."

Kovind received 65.6% votes translating into 702,044 electoral college votes, while Meira Kumar managed 34.35% (367,314 votes).

According to reports, there was cross voting in UP, Gujarat and Goa during the elections, which resulted into Kovind’s massive 2/3rd votes.

■ Ram Nath Kovind defeats Meira Kumar. The NDA candidate crosses the half-way winning margin in the Presidential Elections 2017 to become the 14th President of India. Kumar gets 34.35% of votes. (News18)

■ Cross voting has taken place in Gujarat, Assam, Goa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh in favour of Ram Nath Kovind, reports News18.

■ State-wise break-up of counting of votes:

— Chattisgarh: Ram Nath Kovind (6,708); Meira Kumar (4,515); 3 invalid.

— Goa: Kovind (500); Kumar (220); 2 invalid.

— Gujarat: Kovind (19,404); Kumar (7,203).

— Haryana: Kovind (8,176); Kumar (1,792).

— Himachal Pradesh: Kovind (1,530); Kumar (1,887).

— Jharkhand: Kovind (8,176); Kumar (4,576); 4 invalid.

— Jammu and Kashmir: Kovind (4,032); Kumar (2,160).

— Parliament: Kovind (3,69,576); Kumar (1,59,300); 21 invalid.

Total vote: Kovind (4,79,585); Kumar (2,04,594).

■ Ram Nath Kovind gets 1,389 votes with value of 479,585, Meira Kumar gets 576 votes with value of 20,4594 after counting in Parliament House and 11 states.

Kovind is leading with a handsome margin in the presidential contest after receiving 1,389 votes against opposition candidate Meira Kumar, who got 576 votes, according to partial results today.

In the Electoral College system, Kovind’s votes are worth 4,79,585 while Kumar’s have a value of 2,04,594 at the end of counting of ballots in Parliament House and 11 states.

This was announced by Returing Officer Anoop Mishra. The states where the counting has finished include Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, he said. (PTI)

■ Meira Kumar says, “I am not upset, why should I be upset? I am a fighter, I fought for the belief and faith of majority of my countrymen and women." (ANI)

■ Ram Nath Kovind gets 60,683 votes, while Meira Kumar has secured 22,941 votes after counting of votes from Assam, Arunachal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar: Returning Officer Anoop Mishra. (PTI)

■ People at Paraukh village of NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind celebrate and offer prayers in anticipation of his win, ANI reports.

■ Counting is in progress. Counting agents from the opposition for include Deepinder Singh Hooda, Gaurav Gogoi, BK Hariprasad and Nadimul Haque. The NDA’s counting agents are – Bhupendra Yadav, Suresh Angadi, Ganesh Singh and Gajendra Shekhawat, according to News18.com.

■ Meira Kumar: “Great belief in ideology I fought for,also believe in inner voice of conscience lets see how much it prevails," ANI tweets.

■ A candidate needs more than 50% of votes to win the poll. The total strength of the electoral college is 10,98,903 votes. In the last Presidential polls in 2012, outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee defeated rival P.A. Sangma. Mukherjee secured 69% of votes.

■ Lok Sabha secretary general Anoop Mishra is supervising the counting as he is also the returning officer.

■ The ballot box of Parliament House is the first to be opened, and then, the ballot boxes received from states would be counted on alphabetical basis. The votes would be counted on four separate tables and there would be eight rounds of counting.

Close to 99% voting was recorded on Monday for electing India’s next president. Thirty two polling stations, including the one in Parliament house, were set up in various states.

A total of 4,896 voters—4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs—were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.

While the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of the state he or she belongs to, the value of an MP’s vote remains the same at 708.

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