Do you know which President won the highest votes? Take a look at India's past Presidential elections

In the run-up to 16th Presidential elections of the country, and the stage set for a contest between Draupadi Murmu and Yashwant Sinha, it would be interesting to see how many votes both will poll

Yashwant Sinha (left); Draupadi Murmu (right) Twitter/@krnraghav
Yashwant Sinha (left); Draupadi Murmu (right) Twitter/@krnraghav
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Ashlin Mathew

In the run-up to the 16th Presidential elections of the country scheduled for July 18, 2022, and the stage set for a contest between National Democratic Alliance's presidential nominee Draupadi Murmu and Opposition's candidate Yashwant Sinha, it would be interesting to see how many votes both will poll.

Taking into account all the presidential elections held so far, it was KR Narayanan in 1997 who polled 9.56 lakh votes; the highest ever gotten by a presidential candidate of the total 10,06,921 votes. He contested against the independent candidate TN Sheshan, who got only 50,631 votes.

This was followed by APJ Abdul Kalam in 2002 Presidential elections where he polled 9,22,884 votes and his rival Lakshmi Sahgal got 1,07,366 votes of the total 10,30,250 votes polled. Since then, all winning Presidential candidates have gotten less than eight lakh votes.

The incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind polled 7,02,044 votes, while the Opposition candidate Meira Kumar got 3,67,314 votes of the total 10,69,358 votes. For the fourteenth Presidential elections, Pranab Mukherjee polled higher than Kovind with 7,13,763 and the first tribal Opposition candidate PA Sangma polled 3,15,987 votes of the total 10,29,750 votes.

The number of contenders for presidential elections reduced considerably after the rules were changed in 1997 in the run up to Narayanan's election to weed out non-serious candidates. According to the changes, for Presidential elections, the number of proposers and seconders for any nomination paper was increased from 10 proposers to 50 proposers and from 10
seconders to 50 seconders. The security amount was also increased to Rs 15,000 from Rs 2,500.

The highest number of 17 candidates stood for the fourth Presidential elections in 1967 where Dr Zakir Hussain was the primary candidate and the main opposition candidate was Kota Subbarao. Hussain won with 4,71,244 votes and Subbarao polled 3,63,971 votes of the total 8,38,048. In this election, nine candidates polled zero votes.

For the fifth Presidential election in 1969 after Dr Zakir Husain passed away suddenly, main candidate VV Giri too had to contest against 14 others. Giri polled 4,01,515 votes, while Neelam Sanjiva Reddy got 3,13,548 votes and CD Deshmukh 1,12,769 votes.


In the first presidential election in 1952, Dr Rajendra Prasad contested against four other candidates and polled 5,07,400 votes of the total 6,05,386 votes. His nearest rival KT Shah polled 92,827 votes.

For the tenth Presidential elections in 1992, where Shankar Dayal Sharma polled 6,75,804 votes, Ram Jethmalani had also contested and he polled a measly 2,704 votes.

According to Article 54 of the Constitution, the President of India can only be elected by the members of an electoral college, which includes the MPs of both Houses of the Parliament, and the elected member of Legislative Assemblies of all states and Delhi and Puducherry (both are union territories). Other UTs don’t have a vote in the election. Members of Legislative Councils of states cannot vote in Presidential elections.

There is a value assigned for each of the votes. The value of an MP’s vote is fixed at 700, but the value of an MLAs vote differs according to the state the MLA comes from. It depends on the population of the state and the strength of the state’s Legislative Assembly.

As per the Election Commission’s data, the total value of votes of the MPs is 5,43,200 while that of MLAs is 5,43,231 thereby taking the total sum to 10,86,431.

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Published: 07 Jul 2022, 3:57 PM