A smiling Meira Kumar today congratulated her rival Ram Nath Kovind for his victory in the presidential election while cautioning him of the challenge to uphold the Constitution in these “challenging” times. The residence of Kumar, the Congress-led Opposition’s presidential candidate, at the posh New Friends Colony here wore a deserted look with only a few mediapersons camping outside. “I congratulate Kovindji on his election as the President of India. I extend my good wishes to him as it has fallen upon to him uphold the Constitution in these most challenging times,” she said.
Kumar affirmed her intent to continue the struggle for values and ideals like secularism, inclusiveness, total elimination of casteism, freedom of press and expression, despite her defeat. “The ideology for which, I joined this election does not end today, it will continue because a large number of countrymen believe in it and derive sustenance from it,” she said.
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The former Lok Sabha speaker polled 1844 votes with a value of 3,67,314 as against Kovind’s 2930 votes with a value of 7,02,044 (more than 65 percent). As the results trickled in showing a clear victory for Kovind, there no visits to her residence by anyone from the parties supporting her. Kumar thanked the leaders of 17 opposition parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, for fielding her as their consensus candidate and also members of the collegium — comprising MPs and MLAs — who voted for her. With mediapersons and security personnel waiting outside her residence in the sweltering heat, Kumar ensured supply of water and snacks for them in a gesture of courtesy.