What is the highest ever vote share of the Winner in the Presidential Election?

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Ram Nath Kovind will swear in as the 14th President of India after he won the elections with a vote share of 65.65%. This incidentally is the lowest vote share for a winner in more than 40 years. The highest ever vote share for a winner was 98.99% in 1957, secured by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.  

As expected, Ram Nath Kovind, the candidate proposed by the BJP has won the election to the President of India. He polled a total of 702044 votes while his opponent Meira Kumar polled 367314 votes. Though he won handsomely, Ram Nath Kovind’s vote percentage of 65.65% was the lowest for a winner since the 1970s.  But what is the highest ever vote share in the presidential election and when?

Best ever voter turnout in 2017

The 2017 election saw a total of 1069358 votes being polled in terms of value. Incidentally, this is the best ever in the history of the election to the President though the composition of the electoral college has remained unchanged since 2002. The election was unanimous in 1977 when only one candidate Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was in fray after the rejection of invalid nominations. In terms of value, over 10 lakh votes were polled in seven (7) different elections starting with the 8th Presidential election in 1982. The number of votes was more than 10 lakh in every subsequent election except 2007 when Prathiba Patil was elected as the President. The number of votes polled was lowest in 1957 since the electoral college had fewer members and also the value of the vote was lesser than the current value.

Presidential Election vote share total votes

Kovind’s vote share lowest in more than 40 years

Out of the 15 elections to the President of India (barring the unanimous election in 1977), the winner’s vote share was more than 90% on only 3 occasions. The highest ever vote share was for Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1957 where he secured 98.99% of the total votes polled. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s vote share in 1962 was 98.25%, the second highest of all time. After these two, the only person who secured more than 90% was K.R.Narayanan in 1997 with a 94.97% vote share. Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam also secured close to 90% vote share, 89.58% to be precise in 2002. These high vote shares were possible because of support to a candidate from across the political spectrum. The more closer contests were because of the presence of candidates supported by multiple political parties.

The lowest ever vote share of first preferential votes for a winner was in 1969 when V.V.Giri could secure only 48.01% of the first preferential vote. This is the only election when the second preferential votes had to be counted.

Presidential Election vote share Vote share

 Ram Nath Kovind’s vote share of 65.65% is the lowest for a winner since 1970s. Only two other Presidents secured a lower vote share than Mr. Kovind, Dr. Zakir Hussain in 1967 and V.V.Giri in 1969. These were the only two occasions when the winner secured less than 60% of the first preferential vote. Meira Kumar secured a vote share of 34.35% in 2017  which is the 3rd highest by a second place candidate.

Featured Image: Presidential Election vote share

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