Over 85 pc MPs vote till 2 PM to elect next Vice President; Modi, ex-PM Manmohan Singh cast ballot

Of the 780 MPs in both Houses — another eight Rajya Sabha seats are vacant — around 670 of them had cast their vote so far

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh casts his vote for the election of the Vice President, at Parliament House in New Delhi. Pic/PTI

Over 85 per cent votes were polled in the Vice Presidential election till 2 PM, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh casting their ballots early in the day, officials said.

Of the 780 MPs in both Houses — another eight Rajya Sabha seats are vacant — around 670 of them had cast their vote so far, they said.

The Trinamool Congress, which has 39 MPs, including 23 in Lok Sabha, has already announced its decision to abstain from this election.

National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Jagdeep Dhankhar (71) is pitted against Opposition’s Margaret Alva (80) for the post.

Polling to elect the next Vice President of India began at 10 am, with Modi being among the first ones to do so.

Also Read: Polling to elect next Vice President begins; PM Modi casts vote

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair and needed support to stand up and vote. CPM MP John Brittas was among those who helped the veteran leader in exercising his franchise. The two-term former prime minister greeted those present with folded hands.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president J P Nadda, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and Commerce Minister and Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal were among the leaders who turned up early at the Parliament House.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi also cast their ballot post noon.

The polling will continue till 5 pm, following which the counting of ballots will take place.

With the ruling BJP having an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and 91 members in the Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar has a clear edge over his rival. He is likely to succeed incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu, whose tenure ends on August 10.

All MPs of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including nominated members, are entitled to vote in the vice presidential election.

The two Houses of Parliament together have a sanctioned strength of 788 MPs, of which there are eight vacancies in the Upper House.

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Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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