Members of Parliament of both houses are voting on August 6 to elect the next Vice President of India in an election where NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar is pitted against Opposition pick Margaret Alva. Polling began at 10 am, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi being among the first ones to cast vote.
With numbers stacked in favour of the NDA, former West Bengal governor Dhankhar is set for an easy win, according to PTI. Cracks were visible in opposition unity as Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress decided to abstain from voting alleging lack of consultations while deciding on the name of Alva.Also Read: Vice President of India | Power, process and the significance
The 80-year-old Alva is a Congress veteran and has served as governor of Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, while the 71-year-old Dhankhar is a Jat leader from Rajasthan with a socialist background.
Alva, however, received the backing of regional party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Friday, two days after Aam Aadmi Party and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) lent their support to the opposition candidate. The AIMIM has also extended its support to Alva.
With the support of some regional parties like the Janta Dal (United), YSRCP, BSP, AIADMK and Shiv Sena, the NDA nominee is likely to get over 515 votes, enough for a comfortable win for him. Alva is likely to get over 200 votes, going by the support announced by parties for her candidature so far.
The Trinamool Congress, which has 23 MPs in Lok Sabha and 16 in Rajya Sabha, has decided to stay away from the vice presidential election. "If Parliament is to function effectively, MPs, independent of their parties, must find ways to rebuild trust and restore broken communication amongst each other. In the end, it is the MPs who determine the character of our Parliament," Alva said in a fresh video message ahead of the elections.
She said she has seen debates and differences and yet an atmosphere of give and take, which is now lacking. "The time has come for all parties to get together and to restore the faith and the trust in each other and restore the dignity of Parliament," Alva said in her fresh appeal to MPs.
Dhankhar, on the other hand, met a number of BJP MPs at his residence on Friday. These include Sushil Kumar Modi, Gautam Gambhir, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Rajendra Agrawal, Pradeep Choudhary and Kartikeya Sharma, among others. He has been meeting party MPs while seeking their support for the poll.
While polling will be held from 10 am to 5 pm, the ballots will be counted immediately after that. By late evening, the returning officer will announce the name of the next vice president.The electoral college in the vice presidential election comprises a total of 788 members of both Houses of Parliament. Since all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of vote of each MP would be the same -- one, the Election Commission has said. The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote and the voting at such election is by secret ballot.