Vice-Presidential polls: 85% MPs vote till 2 PM; Modi, Manmohan cast ballot

Over 85 percent votes were polled in the Vice Presidential election until 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.

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, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president JP 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 ballots after noon.

The polling will continue until 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.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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