The C Times, 17 July 2017, Agartala
The race to Raisina Hill is geared for a showdown with the Presidential elections scheduled on 17 July. The NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind, the former governor of Bilhar, is pitted against the Opposition’s counter candidate, former Lok Sabha Speaker Mira Kumar.
India’s elected 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs will vote to elect the next President on Monday. Ram Nath Kovind or Meira Kumar? Who will be India’s next President?
BJP led NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind appears to have the advantage against his opponent Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha Speaker and the opposition’s nominee.
The voting will be held between 10 am to 5 pm with poll results slotted for a 20 July. Paper ballots will be used in the presidential election and the votes will be valid only if the special violet ink pen is used to vote.
The electoral college of the presidential election comprises 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs with a total vote value of 10, 98,903. 5, 49,408 for 543 Lok Sabha and 223 Rajya Sabha parliamentarians, and 4,120, 549 and 495 legislators in state assemblies.
Kovind is likely to sweep the election with 70% of the electoral college baking him in the Lok Sabha and is also 17 states. However, political parties can’t issue a whip to their members to vote for a particular nominee which means that cross-voting is possible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah cast their votes at the Parliament. Before giving PM’s vote, he addressed the media outside the Parliament and said the upcoming Monsoon session brings “hope”. PM Modi said, “Today the Monsoon Session begins. Like the monsoon brings hope, this session also brings the same spirit of hope. This session gives the country an opportunity to elect the president and the vice president”.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice president Rahul Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cast their votes in the Parliament.
Six former-Trinamool Congress MLAs like Sudip Roy Barman, Asish Saha, Dilip Sarkar, Biswabandhu Sen, DC Hrangkhawl, Parnjit Singha Roy and one Congress legislator Ratan Lal Nath is supporting NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind, cast their votes in the Tripura Legislative Assembly.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other CPIM and Congress MLAs are supporting Congress candidate Meira Kumar, cast their votes in the Tripura Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, BJP is scheduled to hold a parliamentary board meeting to decide on NDA’s vice-presidential candidate later today.
The opposition has already picked former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as opposition’s vice-presidential candidate. According to reports, BJP is likely to announce NDA’s vice presidential candidate after the meeting which will take place at 6 pm.