Vice-Presidential Election 2017: Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu will contest against opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi in the Vice-Presidential election this year. The tenure of Vice-President Hamid Ansari is ending on August 10, 2017.
According to the Election Commission of India, an election to fill the vacancy after August 10 needs to be completed before the expiration of the term of Ansari. The Opposition parties have nominated former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their candidate. The ruling NDA is yet to announce its candidate. According to the election laws, notification for the vice-presidential election needs to be issued on, or as soon as conveniently may be after, the 60th day before the expiry of the term of the office of the outgoing Vice-President.
As per the Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, the responsibility of the “superintendence, direction and control” the Vice-Presidential election lie with the Election Commission of India. The Election is also required to ensure that the election to the office of the Vice-President of India is a free and fair election.
Who votes in Vice-Presidential election
The Vice-President of India is elected by the members of an Electoral College, consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The nominated Members of Rajya Sabha as well as of Lok Sabha can also participate in the election.
To contest in the Vice-Presidential election, an aspiring candidate must
- be a citizen of India
- have completed 35 years of age
- be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha
- not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local government (Offices of President and Vice-President, Governor of any State and Ministers of Union or State are exceptions)
Electoral College for the present Vice-Presidential election 2017:
According to the Election Commission, the Electoral College for this year’s election consists of the following members:
From Rajya Sabha: 233 elected and 12 nominated members
From Lok Sabha, 543 elected and 2 nominated.
The total members in the Electoral College are 790
The value of each vote in the Vice-Presidential election is one. Ballot paper, containing names of the contesting candidate, is used for the election. The ballot paper doesn’t contain any party symbol. It has two columns — one containing the name of the candidate and the second for marking the order of preference.
As per the number of contesting candidates, the voters can mark as many preferences (e.g. 1,2,3,4,5…) against the names of the candidates as they want.
The winning candidate has to get a required quota of votes, which is 50% of the total valid votes +1. For example, if 790 valid votes are polled, the quota will be 790/2+1= 396. If a candidate gets 396 first preference votes in the first round of counting, s/he will be the winner.
The Election Commission has appointed the Secretary General to the Rajya Sabha as the Returning Officer for the election.
The Election Commission issued the notification for the Vice-Presidential election on July 4. The last date for making nominations is July 18. On August 5, the poll for the Vice-Presidential election, if needed, would be held. Counting will be done on the same day. The poll can be cancelled if the all parties nominate a consensus candidate.
Nomination paper and security deposit
The contesting candidates need to submit the nomination paper to the Returning Officer at New Delhi at the place to be specified by him by a public notice either by the candidate or by any of his proposers or seconders between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m.
The nomination paper of a candidate needs to be subscribed by at least twenty electors as proposers and at least another twenty electors as seconders. An elector can subscribe to only one nomination paper of a candidate as either a proposer or seconder. The security deposit for the election is Rs 15,000, which has to be paid along with the nomination paper.