India

Process for President’s election begins: Here is all you need to know

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New Delhi, June 13, 2017: As the Election Commission on Wednesday set in motion the process to elect India’s 14th President, the Returning Officer for the Presidential poll issued a notice paving the way for the filing of nominations for the July 17 contest.

Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra, the Returning Officer for the election to the office of President, issued the notice, declaring that the nomination papers may be delivered by a candidate or any of their proposers or seconders not later than June 28.

Each nomination paper shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the entry relating to the candidate in the electoral roll for the Parliamentary constituency in which the candidate is registered as an elector, Mishra said in the notice.

Candidates have been told to deposit a sum of Rs 15,000 with their nomination papers.

This amount may be deposited in cash with the Returning Officer at the time of presentation of the nomination paper or deposited earlier in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or in a government treasury and in the latter case a receipt showing that the deposit has been made, Mishra said.

He added the nomination papers, other than those rejected, will be taken up for scrutiny on June 29.

The notice of withdrawal of candidature may be delivered by a candidate or any one of his proposers or seconders, who have been authorized on his behalf in writing by the candidate by July 1.

Here is all you need to know about Presidential elections:

The last date for filing of nominations is June 28. Scrutiny will follow on June 29 and the last date for withdrawal is July 1. The vote count will be on July 20, four days before incumbent Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. The new President is set to take charge the next day.

The electoral college for choosing the President consists of 4,896 voters. While the Lok Sabha has 543 voters and the Rajya Sabha 233, the overwhelming majority (4,120) come from state assemblies – MLAs.

The total value of votes in the election is 10,98,903 — 5,49,408 for MPs and 5,49,495 for MLAs.

The value of each vote of an MP is 708 but this differs for MLAs from state to state. The value of an MLA’s vote in Uttar Pradesh is the highest (208) and the least (7) in Sikkim.

The NDA is short of the half-way mark by about 18,000 votes. But it expects to gain the support of many smaller parties besides all the factions of the feuding AIADMK which alone has a vote value of over 26,000.

In 2012, Mukherjee, the nominee of the Congress-led UPA, got 7,13,763 votes while his sole rival P.A. Sangma, fielded by the BJP-led NDA, secured 3,15,987 — of the total vote value of 10,29,750. Mukherjee assumed office on July 25, 2012.

The election will see secret ballot and political parties can’t issue a whip to MPs or MLAs.

The Election Commission has said special pens will be provided to voters in view of a row that sorrounded voting for a Rajya Sabha seat in Haryana last year.

“Electors have to mark the ballot only with this pen and not with any other pen. Voting by any other pen may lead to invalidation of the vote,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi has said.

A nomination paper has to be subscribed by at least 50 electors as ‘Proposers’ and by at least another 50 as ‘Seconders’.

The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

Every elector can have as many preferences as the candidates contesting the election and the winner has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected — 50 percent of the valid votes plus one.

Read More: Presidential election on July 17, Counting on July 20

Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra will be the Returning Officer. Votes will be cast in Parliament House and in state assemblies. The vote count will take place in Delhi.

Assistant Returning Officers will be appointed in all state capitals, besides Delhi and Puducherry. Each candidate will be allowed to deploy a representative at the venue of polling.

“MPs are expected to vote in Parliament House in Delhi and the MLAs in their assemblies but they can vote at another polling station in case of exigency,” Zaidi said.

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) formed a three-member panel on Monday to seek consultations with other political parties over a  consensus candidate for the prestigious post of President.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu are the members of the panel.

Read More: BJP forms 3-member panel to consult parties on Presidential Election

The BJP has not given any indication about its likely nominee but opposition parties including the Congress have held parleys to find a consensus candidate. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and tribal leader Draupadi Murmu’s names are doing the rounds as possible government’s choice for the Presidential election.

The opposition parties will meet on June 14 to formally begin discussions on the presidential and vice presidential elections.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has initiated moves to bring the opposition on a common platform.

She set up a 10-member sub-group of representatives from opposition parties to take forward the deliberations.

The sub-group consists of Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Shard Yadav (JD-U), Lalu Prasad (RJD), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), R.S. Bharathi (DMK) and Praful Patel (NCP).

Earlier, Gandhi hosted a luncheon meeting at Parliament House on Friday to discuss a consensus candidate for the forthcoming Presidential Election which was attended by top Leaders of 17 opposition parties.

The meeting decided to wait for the ruling alliance to reach out to them. The opposition parties have said if a consensual candidate does not emerge, they will field a candidate “who will steadfastly defend the constitutional values”.

The names of former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar are doing the rounds. NCP leader Sharad Pawar, whose name figured initially, has said he is not interested in contesting.

Read More: Opposition leaders unites at Sonia Gandhi’s luncheon meet on presidential candidate

Wefornews Bureau

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