Droupadi Murmu as the next President of India was a foregone conclusion on the very day her name was proposed by the NDA and the election was a formality. However, people eagerly waited to gauge the support the opposition sponsored candidate Yashwanth Sinha received. Barring the fanfare in the announcement of Sinha’s name and group photo on nomination day it was all damp squib for opposition camp. Sinha couldn’t visit large number of States, even as a formality, to seek the votes as one party after the other started siding with the NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu. BJD of Odisha was more vocal to support the daughter of the State. Shiv Sena of Maharashtra, JMM of Jharkand, Akali Dal of Punjab all announced unsolicited support to Murmu. The YSRCP and Telugu Desam of Andhra Pradesh were in competition to extend their support to Murmu.
As the voting day approached Mamata Banerjee the original proposer of opposition, started developing cold feet and in a way regretted her decision in opposing NDA sponsored Droupadi Murmu. Such was the attraction the woman and tribal candidate drew support from the wide political spectrum.
The pro-Murmu wave was evident as the ballot boxes were opened. The parliamentary members gave a fitting reply to the much hyped opposition unity. Out of the 748 parliament members, whose vote value is 700, voted 540 went to Murmu. That was whooping 72.19 per cent of vote share. Yashwant Sinha got mere 208 votes valued at 1, 45,600 compared to the 3, 78,000 vote value Murmu got.
The opposition camp has exhibited its lack of respect for the tribal communities and also Demonstrated their opposition to vote for a lady as the occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Not that Murmu is the first woman president of India but she is a woman from santhal tribe
A close analysis of the voting pattern of parliament members reveal that NDA had exceeded its strength by 79 votes. While NDA has 348 members in Lok Sabha and 113 in Rajya Sabha which totals to a combined strength of 461 it garnered 540 votes. Even adding the strength of the non-NDA parties which voted for Murmu, it is apparent the 5-6 MPs cross voted in favour of BJP sponsored candidate. If there are some NDA members whose votes were there in the invalid votes of 15, then the cross voting MPs figure may further go up.
The second round of vote counting taken up for the States where the MLAs are the voters, the story of victory of Murmu continued. From the counting of first 10 states, in the alphabetical order, the NDA sponsored Murmu got 809 votes out of the valid votes off 1,138 votes whose value is 1,05,229 while Sinha got a mere 325 votes valued at 44,276. With both ruling YSRCP and main opposition party TDP supporting Murmu, the UPA sponsored Yashwanth Sinha drew a blank from the state of Andhra Pradesh. During the voting itself it was evident that some of the Congress MLAs in Telangana Assembly are not willing to toe their party line of supporting Yashwant Sinha. A prominent Congress women MLA Seetakka openly voted to for woman Presidential candidate defying its high command and the similar defiance was witnessed in Odisha where an MLA from minority community proclaimed ‘conscious vote’ in favour of Murmu. “Voting consciously leaving political affiliation” was the call of Yashwanth Sinha and that is what those Congress MLA did by voting against him.
As the voting continued, the result of cross voting is clearer. The MLAs of different political parties realised the way they were not made part of the decision making by its leaders. All the regional party leaders took it granted regarding the presidential candidate and thought their MLAs will sheepishly follow their direction. The leaders in their dictatorial attitude forgot that the presidential election is not like any other voting where the MLAs and MPs are bound by the party whip. This is an election where the MLAs and MPs are constitutionally free to vote as per their conscious. Such a conscious voting happened earlier and fate of the candidates got altered dramatically, the most famous being the 1969 election where Congress officially sponsored candidate Sanjiva Reddy tasted defeat in the hands of independent candidate V.V. Giri.
The victory of Murmu is evident with the third round of counting itself. The challenge of opposition was over as their coalition got withered. The 50 per cent mark was crossed by Murmu with a cumulative votes of 2,161 out of 3,219 valid votes
The victory of Murmu is evident with the third round of counting itself. The challenge of opposition is over as their coalition got withered. The 50 per cent mark is crossed by Murmu with a cumulative votes of 2,161 out of 3,219 valid votes. Sinha’s votes are as low a 1,058. As Yashwanth Sinha conceded defeat and congratulated the winning candidate Murmu, on twitter, the opposition game of unity is over. The opposition camp is now left with wounded ego and the top leaders of regional parties should analyse the reason for the preference of its own supporter to Droupadi Murmu.
In the end the opposition camp has exhibited its lack of respect to the tribal communities and also their opposition to vote for a lady as the occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Not that Murmu is the first woman president of India but she is a woman from a Santhal tribe. These factors should have made the opposition to wait till the announcement of its candidate by BJP, as Murmu’s name was making rounds. But the regional chieftains choose the blind opposition of BJP policy and met their waterloo. The other rounds of counting is a mere formality and is needed to establish not the only the majority of the victor, Murmu but also how deep the self-inflected wounds of opposition camp are.