The Congress party today congratulated President-elect Ram Nath Kovind and hoped he would uphold the traditions of democracy and show the “mirror of truth” to the government “drunk with arrogance of numbers”. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said this election was not about numbers but a “fight for our ideology and principles”. “This is a struggle for upholding India’s pluralism, diversity and composite culture. This is the true soul of India that we seek to defend,” he said. Surjewala said the Congress and other opposition parties fought this election as a struggle between autocracy of one man and cumulative wisdom of many, between politics of drift and division versus cohabitation and togetherness, a fight between subjugation of our democratic institutions and preservation of their innate freedom.
“We shall strive on this path together. We hope that the new president-elect shall not only uphold these traditions but show the mirror of truth to a government drunk with arrogance of numbers,” he said. Surjewala also thanked joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar for her grit, firm resolve, simplicity and dignity with which she fought the election in challenging circumstances.
Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said, “We hope that President-elect Kovind, who will take over in next few days, will truly act as the protector of the Constitution and will defend this nation and defend the people against any attack on democracy, fundamental rights and everything that our Constitution stands for”. “We hope this battle will be remembered by the nation as a battle that stood for pluralism, a battle that stood for inclusiveness, a battle that stood for upholding the principles of democracy which our forefathers have sacrificed lives for and built it over the years.
“As Meira Kumar said, after the result and the Congress stands by her, that this is beginning of many diverse political parties with different political ideologies coming together to stand with the Constitution, to stand for the values and the principles that our Constitution stands for,” Dev said. To a question on cross voting, Surjewala said if one will examine the results more minutely, “we are happy that the presidential candidate Meira Kumar holds close to 35 per cent of votes”.
“Opposition unity has stayed intact while a government which was drunk with numbers and a Union minister who was also the agent of the winning candidate claimed that they will poll 70 per cent votes or more. The winning candidate has got about 65.66 per cent votes. “There was cross voting also in favour of Meira Kumar in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, in Himachal Pradesh as also in two small but important states of Sikkim and Nagaland,” he said.
He said the entire figures are still not available and they will examine them, but expressed satisfaction that opposition unity on the principles of ideology has held together and “people have voted together and people have voted to defend and protect the idea of India”. Dev said in the last 15 presidential elections, this is the second highest vote secured by a runner-up candidate.
“If you look at the total result of the 15 presidential elections, I think six other presidents who were elected, had secured a cumulative total of much higher number of votes, and percentages than the current election. So, it is an eye-opener for those who are showing arrogance only based upon numbers,” she said.