The process of filing nominations for the August 5 vice presidential election began today with the Election Commission issuing notification. Neither the ruling NDA nor the opposition has so far announced their respective candidates for the post of vice president. The term of present incumbent Hamid Ansari, who has held the post for two consecutive terms, comes to an end on August 10. The ruling NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha and received support of parties such as AIADMK and BJD in the Presidential polls, will find it easy to place its candidate as the next vice president. The nominations can be submitted by July 18.
The scrutiny will take place on July 19 and the last date for withdrawing from the electoral battle is July 21. The polling, if required, it will take place on August 5 and the counting will also take place on the same evening. In the vice president election, a candidate requires 20 proposers and 20 seconders who should be members of Parliament. Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice. No whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot. Following the ink controversy in Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year, the Election Commission has decided to use special pens for the electors to mark their votes in the July 17 presidential election and the vice presidential polls.
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Votes marked with any other pen are liable to be rejected. The decision to use special pens is based on the recommendations made by a working group set up by the poll panel to suggest ways to avoid repeat of such disputes in future polls. Twelve votes marked using a wrong pen were declared invalid leading to the defeat of Congress-backed independent candidate R K Anand, a lawyer, to media baron Subhash Chandra. Secretary General of Rajya Sabha Shumsher K Sheriff is the returning officer for the election. The electoral college which elects the vice president, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, consists of elected and nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
The total strength of the two Houses is 790, but there are some vacancies. In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA led by BJP, has 338 members. In the 243-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP as of now has 56 members, while the Congress with 59 is the single largest party. With its recent wins in the recent assembly polls, the BJP is set to emerge as the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha too next year and the NDA’s tally would be close to 100. It would, however, still be short of a majority in the upper house.