The election to decide the next President of India is all set to take place today where National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) nominee Ram Nath Kovind is pitted against 18 parties Opposition candidate Meira Kumar. However, the election is hinting towards an unusual political unity in West Bengal with legislators from all the major parties of the state including Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress and the Left is expected to vote for Meira Kumar. According to a report by Indian Express, though NDA’s presidential pick Kovind has massive support from other parts of the country, in the 295-member Bengal Assembly and among its 42 Lok Sabha members, the presence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks weak.
However, Kovind is affirmative of getting support from six legislators in the Assembly which includes three from the BJP and the other three from its political ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). He would also get support from two BJP Lok Sabha members too. The report also states that out of 288 state legislators – there is one nominated member who is not eligible to vote and 40 MPs from Bengal who are likely to cast their vote in favour of Kumar.
This means all Rajya Sabha members from Bengal would vote in favour of Kumar as the saffron party does not have even a single member from the Upper House of Parliament in the state. Bengal has total 16 seats out of which 12 are with TMC, one with Congress and three with the CPI (M). The value of vote of a Rajya Sabha or a Lok Sabha member is 708. In Bengal, the vote value of each legislator is 151. The election will be conducted by a secret ballot process and there is no whip.
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Indian Express report also states that two ballot boxes have already reached Kolkata and most of the legislators are expected to vote in the Kolkata today. Also for the first time, the Election Commission of India (EC) has published posters mentioning the dos and don’ts for the elections. There would be different ballot paper for MPs and MLAs to cast their vote. Green ballot papers would be used by the MPs and pink by the MLAs.
Heavy security has been arranged for conducting the elections smoothly. Apart from two representatives one each for the Presidential candidates, armed policemen would be deployed inside the House during the time of elections. The ballot boxes would be sent to Delhi on Tuesday.