Droupadi Murmu is close to halfway mark after two rounds of counting. Ms Murmu has accumulated 45 per cent of the total value of votes. Yashwant Sinha is at 27 per cent.
Among the states where votes have been counted include Andhra Pradesh — where Ms Murmu received almost all the votes — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisharh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The counting process started at 11 at the Parliament House and after preliminaries, the actual counting started at 1.30 pm. The trends became clear after the first round where Ms Murmu stood at 39 per cent.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already congratulated Ms Murmu. “The first women tribal to become President is a momentous occasion and thanks to PM Modi for giving such unique gift. There is absolute euphoria in Assam, particularly in the tea gardens, people are very happy,” he added.
The Delhi BJP has started its celebrations with a roadshow from the party headquarters, which will end at Rajpath. All state units of the BJP have also planned victory processions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, some senior members of his Cabinet and BJP chief J P Nadda are expected to visit Droupadi Murmu at her temporary lodgings in Teen Murti Marg to congratulate her after the results are declared.
Residents in Odisha’s Rairangpur, the hometown of Ms Murmu, are already celebrating. They have got 20,000 sweets prepared. A tribal dance and victory procession are part of the plan after the results are out.
NDA’s choice of Ms Murmu — a tribal woman from Odisha and a former Jharkhand Governor — worked as a move to split the Opposition and bring support from non-aligned parties, such as Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.
The President-elect will take oath on July 25, a day after Ramnath Kovind’s tenure ends.
In India’s constitutional history of seven decades, there were a couple of occasions, mostly in the first couple of decades, when Presidents were elected unanimously. But if there was any other presidential contest that deserved consensus, it was Murmu’s election. In any case, the odds were very much against the Opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha. Had the Opposition demonstrated maturity, and had Sinha withdrawn from the contest even at the last minute, especially after several of the Opposition parties including the JMM, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena extended support to Murmu’s candidature, it would have not only enhanced the prestige of the Opposition but also helped to improve the political climate in the country.
Murmu brings with her rich experience in public life. She is a well-educated woman from the family of a village headman. As a teacher and, later, as a people’s representative — first as a councillor in the local municipal body and subsequently as a legislator and minister in the Odisha government — Murmu had brought development to a relatively backward region. She had also won the best performing legislator award.
Murmu’s election will naturally make millions of tribals of India happy and truly empowered. But the real success of our democracy is when she is looked at as not merely a “tribal President” but the President of the 1.3 billion people-strong Republic of India. For her election to symbolise the bridging of the gap between the first and last citizens of our republic, people should celebrate the occasion by installing her picture in every public space.