Modi’s claim Murmu won by ‘record margin’ misleading; Yashwant Sinha got most votes as runner up since 1952

President-elect Droupadi Murmu won with one of the lowest margins ever, despite BJP’s brute majority in Parliament and many state assemblies. She had just a 28.06% victory margin over Yashwant Sinha

Yashwant Sinha (left); Droupadi Murmu (Twitter/@krnraghav)
Yashwant Sinha (left); Droupadi Murmu (Twitter/@krnraghav)
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NH Web Desk

Even since the news of Droupadi Murmu being elected as the 15th President of India broke on Thursday, the right-wing ecosystem has been gloating on social media that her election saw the highest ever share of crossvoting for presidential elections, implying that opposition unity was in tatters.

But the numbers tell a completely different story. Murmu, in fact won with one of the lowest margins ever, despite the BJP’s brute majority in Parliament and many state assemblies.

The President-elect secured 6,76,803 valid votes out of the 10,56,980 which were cast and had a lead of 2,96,626 votes over the Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. However, her victory margin over Sinha, in terms of vote share, was only 28.06%. She was able to garner only 64.03% of the vote share.

The highest vote share in the recent past was obtained by KR Narayanan, in whose favour 95.6 lakh votes were cast in 1997, translating into a vote share percentage of 95%.

In 2002, APJ Abdul Kalam was elected to the President’s post with a vote share of almost 89% with 9,22,884 votes cast in his favour while his rival Lakshmi Sahgal, put up by Left, secured 1,07,366 votes of the total 10,30,250 votes cast.

Several news organisations too fell for the narrative without checking the relevant figures. They contended that ‘crossvoting’ had exposed the ‘cracks’ in the Opposition’s unity.

They even mentioned that Murmu secured one vote from Kerala, without fact-checking that it was in fact cast by an elected member from UP who was in Kerala for medical treatment.

In an attempt to tarnish Opposition unity, a few media organisations and journalists actually listed the number of elected members who allegedly crossvoted in tweets posted by them.

In reality, even the incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind beat Murmu in this context, securing 7,02,044 votes, a vote share of 65.7% in 2017. For the fourteenth presidential elections, Pranab Mukherjee secured 69.3% of the vote share, higher than Kovind.

The record for highest ever vote share for a presidential candidate is held by Rajendra Prasad when he contested for his second term in 1957. Prasad’s vote share was an overwhelming 99% and much higher than the 84% vote share he had when he contested the elections for the first time in 1952.

Prasad’s record is followed by Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan inn whose favour 98% votes were cast when he successfully contested the presidential elections in 1962.

Opposition leaders, including those from the Congress, set the record straight through tweets posted by them:

Even as the Godi media and right-wing elements attempted to portray Opposition unity as ‘weak’ with their focus on alleged crossvoting, they have not been able to explain how Murmu garnered one of the least vote shares in the history of the presidential elections in the country. The only thing they have been able to prove is their false agendas.

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Published: 22 Jul 2022, 9:33 PM