Winning the 1969 presidential polls by 48 per cent of the total votes, Varahagiri Venkata Giri has remained the only president in India’s history to have emerged victorious with a margin of less than one lakh votes, Election Commission data analysed by CNN-News18 shows.
Giri is also the only president so far who bagged less than 50 per cent of the total votes. Zakir Husain won the polls in 1967 with the second highest vote percentage among all the presidential elections held between 1952 and 2017.
Further, among those who won the presidential polls with the highest vote share was Rajendra Prasad, when he bagged the 1957 elections with 99 per cent votes. KR Narayanan was appointed President in 1997 with the highest vote margins – over 9.05 lakh votes, EC data shows.
The 1977 elections were unique as India’s President was elected without a contest, a record that continues till today. While at least 37 aspirants had filed nominations, only one validly nominated candidate remained in the field – Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. In the 1969 presidential elections, Reddy was the runner-up with 3.13 lakh votes and Giri was elected as the President with 4.01 lakh votes.
So far, among the 15 presidential elections India has faced, only four times the vote share of the winning candidate has been 90 per cent or more – 1957 (99%), 1962 (98%), 1997 (95%), and 2002 (90%). Apart from 1957, when Rajendra Prasad won with the highest vote share of 99 per cent, it was in 1962 when S Radhakrishnan became the President.
In the recent past, KR Narayanan (1997) and APJ Abdul Kalam (2002) were the leaders who were elected as the President with the highest vote share and margin. Kalam, who won the elections with 90 per cent of the total votes, had a winning margin of 8.15 lakh. He was the last president who won the polls with such a high vote share and margin. After the 2002 elections, the winning candidate has only bagged less than 70 per cent or 4 lakh votes.
The data also shows that Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, was also the only president who was elected twice.
India is all set to elect its new president on Thursday as the counting is underway. The fight is between NDA’s candidate Droupadi Murmu and Opposition’s pick Yashwant Sinha, with the former seemingly set for a comfortable win. If victorious, Murmu will be the second female president of India after Pratibha Devisingh Patil who won the 2007 elections with nearly 66 per cent votes. While Patil got over 6.38 lakh votes, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the runner-up with more than 3.31 lakh votes. Murmu will also be the first tribal president of India.
Incumbent president Ram Nath Kovind’s tenure is ending on July 24. The new president will take oath on July 25.
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