05 Aug 2017 13:28 IST

Vice-President election: Modi, Venkaiah Naidu cast votes

Ruling NDA’s candidate M Venkaiah Naidu is tipped to be the country’s next Vice-President

Polling to elect the next Vice-President of India began at the Parliament House this morning and the results will be declared in the evening.

Ruling NDA’s candidate M Venkaiah Naidu is tipped to be the country’s next Vice-President. NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, will find it easy to place its candidate for the post. The Opposition has fielded Gopalkrishna Gandhi against Venkaiah Naidu.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, M Venkaiah Naidu, who is a member from Rajya Sabha, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, a Lok Sabha member, were among the first to cast their ballot. In fact, the Prime Minister was standing in queue even before the voting hall was opened at 10 am.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and the Opposition-backed candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi also polled their votes during the Vice-President poll.

Congress party MPs Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Singh Hooda, Sushmita Dev also cast their votes to elect the next Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha member and boxer Mary Kom, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh were also seen in the queue.

The BJD and the JD(U), which had supported NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind for the post of president, have decided to back the Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice in the election, which will conclude at 5 pm. The counting of votes will commence after the polling and the results will be declared by 7 pm, Election Commission officials said quoting precedents.

No whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot. The term of the present incumbent Hamid Ansari, who held the post for two consecutive terms, is coming to an end on August 10. The electoral college which elects the Vice-President, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, consists of elected and nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The total strength of the two Houses is 790, but there are two vacancies in the Lok Sabha and some in the Rajya Sabha.

A BJP MP in Lok Sabha is barred from casting vote following a judicial pronouncement. In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA led by BJP has 338 members.

The BJP on Thursday overtook Congress to become the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, where it now has 58 members against 57 of the main Opposition party. The one who bags 50 per cent plus one vote of the total valid votes cast will win the poll.

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