Initial caution makes way to jubilation

Initial caution makes way to jubilation

When security personnel closed the front doors of his 13 Talkaotra Road residence around 1:30pm, President-elect Pranab Mukherjee was still tense.

The counting of MP votes had just finished with the results demonstrating Mukherjee is miles ahead of his competitor P A Sangma in the race for Raisina Hills, the 76-year-old veteran Congress leader, being a politician by heart, was cautious and calculative.

He finished his frugal lunch of rice, pulses and vegetables, and a prasad specially sent for him from South Delhi’s Kalibari temple. As results poured in, he continued calculating his share of votes.

Mukherjee, who looked a bit  edgy almost throughout the day, became relaxed only after the total number of votes in favour of him crossed 5.5 lakh. A muted celebration began in the house where Mukherjee’s ailing wife Subhra, daughter Sharmistha, younger son Indrajit and his wife were present. As his victory became more evident, non-stop phone calls from his well-wishers and dear ones, kept him busy.

“The celebrations will be postponed to July 25 when he will take the oath. Once he assumes office formally, we would definitely celebrate with a large family gathering, and that would be the real time for celebration,” said Sharmistha.

Outside his house, crowd began to swell ignoring the hot and humid weather. Leaders began to trickle in. Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram were among the first two who came. Congress president Sonia Gandhi with her son Rahul arrived at the residence of Mukherjee around 5:30 pm followed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and wife Gursharan Kaur.

Soon the President-elect came out to give his first reaction. “I would like to thank people of this great country for conferring this distinction by electing me to the high office.”

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