Ram Nath Kovind likely to win contest against Meira Kumar, counting of votes begins

NEW DELHI:  The counting of votes for the presidential election began at 11 am today, at the end of which India will know who its next President will be.

   The contest, between the ruling NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind and the Opposition’s Meira Kumar, both Dalits, saw nearly 99 per cent lawmakers and legislators cast their vote – the highest ever.

    Voting had taken place on July 17. NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind, the former governor of Bihar, is the clear favourite to win the contest against Meira Kumar, former Lok Sabha Speaker fielded by the opposition.

    Mr Kovind, 71, is backed not just by the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance but also several regional parties like Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK, likely to get nearly 70 per cent of the total votes.

   The counting of votes will be held under the supervision of the Lok Sabha secretary general Anoop Mishra, who is also the Returning Officer.

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first to cast his vote in Parliament on July 17 for the presidential election. The presidential poll on Monday saw nearly 99 per cent voting, the highest ever, according to returning officer said. 32 polling stations including the one in Parliament House, were set up in various states. A total of 4,895 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — were eligible to cast their ballot. Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra did not vote as he was disqualified by the poll body over the allegations of “paid news”. (agencies)

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