New Delhi: Voting to elect a new Vice President of India got underway on Saturday in Parliament House. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to cast his vote. Ruling NDA’s Jagdeep Dhankhar is taking on Opposition candidate Margaret Alva in the election.
The voting by MPs of both the Houses started at 10 am and will continue till 5 pm.
The counting of votes will take place later in the day.
The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The voting is held through a secret ballot.
The BJP alone has 394 of 780 total votes in the electoral college of Vice President which places Dhankhar in a comfortable position against his rival Alva.
Lack of unity among opposition partners has further hurt Alva’s prospects as Mamata Banerjee-led AITC has announced to abstain from voting in the polls. The AITC has 36 MPs in both Houses of Parliament.
Andhra Pradesh’s ruling YSRCP, Mayawati’s BSP, and Naveen Patnaik’s BJD have once again announced support for the NDA candidate.
The former West Bengal Governor Dhankhar attended a meeting with the BJP MPs in Delhi where the preparations ahead of voting were made.
“MPs fight great electoral battles to gain entry to the Temple of Democracy – our Parliament. Each of them is a hero, worthy of our respect. Each a unique voice, that deserves to be heard. I believe when these powerful voices are given expression, great things can be achieved,” Alva said in a tweet.
The next Vice President will take oath on August 14, a day after incumbent M.Venkaiah Naidu’s term expires.
As per the rule, an election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiry of the term of office of the Vice President should be completed before the expiry of the term of the incumbent Vice President.
The Vice President is mandated by the constitution to act as the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.