Yashwant Sinha. Photo: PTI
New Delhi: Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha on Thursday congratulated Droupadi Murmu on her win in the presidential poll and said he hopes that as the 15th president she functions as the "custodian of the Constitution" without fear or favour.
NDA nominee Murmu crossed the 50 per cent mark after the third round of counting to emerge victorious in the poll over her rival Sinha.
In a statement, Sinha also expressed concern over the country's situation, saying India has never seen "political corruption of such magnitude", and this, coupled with the "poisonous politics of polarisation", poses a grave danger to democracy and communal harmony.
Congratulating Murmu, he said, "I hope -- indeed, every Indian hopes -- that as the 15th President of India she functions as the Custodian of the Constitution without fear or favour. I join my fellow countrymen in extending best wishes to her."
He thanked the leaders of the Opposition parties for choosing him as their consensus candidate in this election.
Sinha also thanked all members of the Electoral College who voted for him and said that he accepted the offer of Opposition parties solely guided by the philosophy of 'Karma Yoga' preached by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita -- "Do your duty without expectation of the fruits thereof".
"I have performed my duty conscientiously out of my love for my country," he said.
Sinha said the issues he raised during his campaign remain pertinent and despite the outcome of the election, he believes it has benefited Indian democracy in two important ways.
"It brought most Opposition parties on a common platform. This is indeed the need of the hour, and I earnestly appeal to them to continue - indeed, further strengthen - Opposition unity beyond the Presidential Election. It must be equally evident in the election of the Vice-President," he said.
He also said that in the course of his election campaign, he tried to highlight the views, concerns and commitments of the Opposition parties on major issues before the nation and the common people.
"In particular, I voiced strong concern over the blatant and rampant weaponisation of ED, CBI, Income Tax department and even the office of Governor against Opposition parties and their leaders," he said.
These institutions are also being misused to engineer defections and topple Opposition-run state governments, Sinha alleged.
"India has never seen political corruption of such magnitude. This, coupled with the poisonous politics of polarisation, poses a grave danger to democracy and communal harmony in India," he said.
"I am happy that my views found strong resonance among the CMs, leaders, MPs and MLAs belonging to Opposition parties in all the states I visited. Common people have also supported these views," he said.
Sinha also said that till his last breath, he shall continue to serve the cause he believes in -- the very cause that guided him to contest the election for the highest office of the Republic.