Pranab Mukherjee – the new President-elect of India

Pranab Mukherjee elected for the top post as the President of India

Pranab Mukherjee, the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s key strategist and a long-time minister, was elected India’s 13th president by an overwhelming majority of MPs and legislators, defeating his rival P.A. Sangma. He drew 713,763 votes, about 70 percent, leaving Sangma way behind with 315,887 votes.

The president-elect was backed not just by partners of the Congress-led UPA but also by the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Shiv Sena, which broke ranks with the opposition alliance. Also endorsing the candidature of the veteran Congressman were the CPI-M, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Mukherjee takes over from Pratibha Patil, India’s first woman president. The swearing-in ceremony will be held in parliament July 25, the day Patil moves out of the 340-room presidential palace and the 76-year-old Mukherjee moves in.“I thank all the people of my country,” Mukherjee told reporters.

Mukherjee, known in some circles as “Chanakya” for his shrewd understanding of the political world, is the first Bengali to be president of India. The archetypal enigmatic politician, he has given few insights into his personal life through his decades in public life.

Known to be a voracious reader and indefatigable worker who’s hard at work plodding through reams of files till midnight, he is married to Surva, a known Rabindra Sangeet exponent. The couple has two children.

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