fifty years ago may 10, 1967 Archives

Zakir Hussian elected President

Dr. Zakir Hussain has been elected President of India. He polled 4,71,244 first preference electoral votes, as against 3,63,771 by his immediate opponent, Mr. K. Subba Rao. Of the 15 other candidates, only six secured some votes. As anticipated in these columns, Dr. Zakir Hussain, who was sponsored by the Congress, secured a comfortable majority of 1,07,273 electoral votes over the former Chief Justice of India, who was supported by the Opposition parties. The announcement of the election was made this afternoon by the returning officer, Mr. B.N. Bannerjee, Secretary of the Rajya Sabha. From the beginning its was obvious that Dr. Zakir Hussain would win on the basis of the Congress Party’s strength in the two Houses of Parliament and in the State Assemblies. It was expected that the margin of success would be about 40,000 electoral votes. What, in fact, created anxiety was the widespread apprehension that Congressmen might defect to the Opposition to wreak their vengeance against the Central leadership. The example of the behaviour of Congressmen in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana was very much haunting the Party. But as it has turned out not only have Congressmen throughout the country by and large rallied behind the banner of the Congress in this moment of crisis; they have even been able to attract the support of quite a significant number from the Opposition parties. The two exceptions to this otherwise creditable record of the Congress Party are Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, at least, 15 Congressmen must have voted against the Congress nominee. While the Congress Party’s strength in the Assembly is 165, only 150 voted in favour of Dr. Zakir Hussain. If the newly-formed United Democratic Parties’ friendly attitude towards the Congress Party is also taken into account, and if it is assumed that some of them at least would have voted for the Congress candidate, the actual defection from the Congress ranks may be much more than 15.

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