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President Pratibha Patil

July 21, 2007

United Progressive Alliance-Left nominee Pratibha Patil has been elected as the 13th President of India.

Pratibha on Saturday won the Presidential election by a huge 3 lakh margin defeating National Democratic Alliance-backed independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to become the first woman head of state in a bitterly-contested poll that saw some cross-voting from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In the final count, Pratibha got a vote value of 6,38,116 while Shekhawat secured 3,31,306 in an electoral college of 10.98 lakh.

The winner got 65.82 per cent of the valid votes, Lok Sabha Secretary General and Returning Officer P D T Achary said at the end of counting of votes that lasted for over six hours declaring Pratibha elected.

In Parliament, she got 442 votes against 232 of Shekhawat. In states and Union territories put together, the winning candidate bagged 2,489 votes against the loser's 1,217.

Dashing all hopes of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance for a conscience vote in favour of Shekhawat, the 72-year old former governor of Rajasthan significantly picked up votes of the value of over 10,000 more than expected helped by cross-voting in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.

In the other saffron-ruled state of Madhya Pradesh, Shekhawat did not poll even the expected votes with 11 declared invalid because of writings like 'Om' and 'Jai Shri Ram', apparently indicating rebellion in the BJP voters.

Photographs: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

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