New Delhi, August 5
Members of Parliament of both Houses will vote on Saturday to elect the next Vice-President of India, in an election where the numbers appear comfortably stacked in favour of NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is pitted against Opposition nominee Margaret Alva.
Unlike the presidential poll where voting takes place at multiple locations across the country as MLAs too are part of the electoral college, the vice presidential election will witness voting only in Parliament House with all MPs, including the nominated ones, exercising their franchise.
At present, there are 543 members in the Lok Sabha and 237 in the Rajya Sabha. Eight seats are vacant in the Upper House—three nominated members and rest from Jammu and Kashmir where there is no Assembly currently.
With the BJP alone having 303 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 91 in the Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar is set to easily garner the support of two-thirds of the MPs.
Cracks are already visible in the Opposition camp with Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress deciding to abstain from voting alleging lack of consultations while deciding Alva’s candidature. Several regional parties, including Janata Dal (United), YSR Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, AIADMK and Shiv Sena, have pledged support to Dhankhar. If the members of all parties supporting Dhankhar are taken into account, he is likely to get more than 515 votes.
A former Governor of West Bengal, Dhankhar (71) is a Jat leader from Rajasthan with socialist background. Alva (80) is a Congress veteran and has served as the Rajasthan Governor.
While polling will be held from 10 am to 5 pm, the ballots will be counted immediately thereafter. By late Saturday evening, the returning officer (Lok Sabha secretary general) will announce the name of the next vice president, who also functions as the Rajya Sabha chairperson. The term of incumbent Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10.