Share “Congress candidate wins India presidential...”

Congress candidate wins India presidential vote

Associated Press Modified: July 22, 2012 at 9:30 am •  Published: July 22, 2012
Advertisement

NEW DELHI (AP) — The candidate from India's governing Congress party, former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was declared winner Sunday in voting for the country's president, a largely ceremonial position.

Election official P.K. Agnihotri said Mukherjee, 76, had received more than twice as many votes as his rival in last Thursday's balloting by national and state legislators.

"I express deep gratitude to the people for electing me to this high office," Mukherjee said. He said he would try to justify the people's trust.

His rival, Purno Agitok Sangma, conceded defeat before the counting was complete Sunday. "I congratulate Mukherjee on his victory and I wish him success," he told reporters.

Mukherjee's elated supporters danced to the beat of drums and set off firecrackers outside his residence as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party chief, arrived to congratulate him. Several opposition groups also backed Mukherjee.

Mukherjee and Sangma, a former speaker of Parliament, were competing to succeed India's first female president, Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Mukherjee is to be sworn in on Wednesday.

In India, the prime minister is the head of government and the president is mainly a figurehead.

Mukherjee has served previously as foreign minister, defense minister and finance minister. His latest term as finance minister from 2009 until earlier this year was marred by declining growth, a tumbling currency, rising inflation and a failure to push through proposed reforms. India's economic growth in the last quarter was 5.3 percent, the slowest rate in years.

Mukherjee's emphatic win is a morale booster for the beleaguered ruling party, which faces parliamentary elections in 2014. Its image has been tarnished by corruption allegations against several ministers and demands that it take more action against graft.

In a reflection of Mukherjee's personal ties with politicians of all hues, lawmakers belonging to some key allies of the main opposition group, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, voted for him.

The Congress party will need their continued support to overcome a major challenge from the BJP and its allies in the 2014 elections.


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Game warden won't be charged in April Adair County shooting
  2. 2
    Report: Pakistan on track to have world's 3rd largest nuclear arsenal
  3. 3
    Yellowstone visitor requests better trained bears
  4. 4
    Gym teacher charged with sexual battery bound for district court arraignment
  5. 5
    Woman tries to stop suspected thief by jumping into his vehicle, Tulsa police say
+ show more

FEATURED JOBS



× Trending news Article