Voting for Vice Presidential Election has ended with a total poll percentage of 98.21%. Total 771 out of 785 MPs cast their votes. The counting process will begin at 6 p.m. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee and former union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu is contesting against Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The winner of the polls will be appointed as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The term of incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who held the position for two consecutive terms, will come to an end on August 10. The voting began at 10 a.m. The results are expected to be declared by 7 p.m. today.
NDA’s nominee Venkaiah Naidu today said he is now a “non-party man” and exuded confidence in getting support from Members of Parliament (MPs) casting their vote to elect the Vice-President of the country.
“There is no my party or your party. Now I am a non-party man. Majority of political parties in India are supporting my candidature. I am confident that they will all vote in the election,” he told reporters here.
Naidu said he is known to all his MPs in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. “That is why I am not campaigning also or canvassing also. I have written a polite letter to everybody.
The response is very good. People are appreciative of my letter. I am confident they will all support me,” he said.
Naidu is pitted gainst the Opposition candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi in the election.
“I don’t want to make any comments against anybody. I am not contesting against any body. I am contesting for the vice-president of India nominated by a number of political parties. My contest is not against any individual or any party,” Naidu said.
The opposition’s candidate Gandhi said the most important issue before the country is of social cohesion and growing intolerance.
“There is a growing intolerance amongst people. And it is not their own intolerance because our people are a very tolerant people. Our people do not want any friction. They want to live in peace and harmony,” he said.
Assistant Returning Officer Mukul Pandey told reporters that 96.94 per cent (761 out of 785) members eligible to cast vote have exercised their franchise till 3 pm.
NDA’s M Venkaiah Naidu is pitted against opposition candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi.
The strength of the electoral college comprising both elected and nominated MPs of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha is 790.
There are two vacancies in each House.
One BJP Lok Sabha MP is barred from voting following a judicial pronouncement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and M Venkaiah Naidu, as well as 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 opened at 10 am.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, his party MPs Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Singh Hooda and Sushmita Dev also voted to elect the next vice president.
MPs are using special pens for marking their choice in the election which will conclude at 5 pm.
The counting of votes will commence after polling and the results will be declared by 7 pm, Election Commission officials said.
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 the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.