Legislative assembly

Counting of votes for the presidential election at 11 a.m. today: The Tribune India


New Delhi, July 21

India will find out on Thursday who will succeed incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind to become the country’s 15th president, as the vote count for the presidential election begins at 11 a.m. in parliament here.

Draupadi Murmu of the ruling party and Yashwant Sinha of the opposition face off in the contest, with the votes clearly stacked in favor of Murmu, who, if elected, will be the first tribal woman to hold the post highest constitution in the country.

Kovind’s term ends on July 24 and the new president will be sworn in on July 25.

With ballot boxes from all states having reached Parliament, polling officials are ready for the count in room number 63, the Parliament vault where the ballot boxes are guarded behind 24-hour security.

Rajya Sabha General Secretary PC Mody, who is the returning officer for the polls, will oversee the count on Thursday, the result of which is expected to be announced in the evening.

Mody will first present polling trends after counting all of the MPs’ votes, then again after counting the votes of 10 states in alphabetical order.

Sources said he would once again report on polling trends after the votes of 20 states were counted, and then finally declare the result after the total count.

All state assembly ballot boxes arrived in the parliament vault on Tuesday evening and have been locked there ever since. The ballot boxes had been flown to the nation’s capital under the name “Mr. Ballot Box” of all states.

“Monsieur Ballot Box” came seated in the front row of the planes under the watchful eye of the assistant returning officers (AROs) of their respective states.

The electoral commission had published photographs of the ballot boxes sealed on board the flights accompanied by ARO on Monday.

According to the EC, each ballot box received an electronic ticket under the name “Mr Ballot Box”.

Voting for the presidential election took place Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 31 locations, including the Parliament and 30 centers within state legislatures.

There are also reports of cross-voting in favor of Murmu in a number of states. There is no whip issued to members in the presidential ballot.

Deputies of both, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, except appointed deputies, and all deputies of the Legislative Assembly of all states act as voters in the presidential ballot.

A total of 4,809 electors, including 776 MPs and 4,033 elected MPs, are eligible to vote in the elections, but appointed MPs and MPs and members of the Legislative Council are not.

More than 99% of the total voters had voted in the ballot which took place on Monday, according to the Electoral Commission.

Eight MPs, including BJP MPs Sunny Deol and Sanjay Dhotre, were among those who did not vote.

Actor-politician Deol missed the vote as he is abroad for medical treatment, while Dhotre gave him a pass as he was in intensive care.

Two MPs each from the BJP and Shiv Sena, and one each from the BSP, Congress, SP and AIMIM missed the vote in Monday’s polls.

Kovind became president after garnering 7,02,044 votes out of a total of 10,69,358 votes, while his rival Meira Kumar only garnered 3,67,314 votes.