Ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate M Venkaiah Naidu is tipped to be India's next vice-president as members of Parliament gear up to cast their ballot on Saturday.
The name of the next vice-president of India will be known on Saturday evening after the voting takes place during the day in Parliament House.
The ruling NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, is likely to find it easy to place its candidate as the next vice-president.
The Opposition has fielded Gopalkrishna Gandhi against Naidu as its candidate.
File image of M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Janata Dal (United), which had supported NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president, have decided to back Opposition nominee Gandhi this time around.
Perhaps the most significant aspect about the vice-presidential nomination of Gandhi was that his name was first suggested by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) is now in alliance with the BJP in the state.
Members of Parliament will use special pens to mark their choice in the election scheduled to be held between 10 am and 5 pm on Saturday. The counting of votes will commence after polling and the results will be declared by 7 pm, Election Commission officials said.
No whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot.
The term of Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who has held the post for two consecutive terms, is coming to an end on 10 August.
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 two vacancies in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha BJP MP Chhedi Paswan is barred from casting a vote following a judicial pronouncement.
In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA, which is led by BJP, has 338 members.
In the 243-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP on Thursday overtook Congress to become the largest political party in the Rajya Sabha, where it now has 58 members against 57 of the main Opposition party.
Despite the expected outcome of the vice-presidential election, the polls are still relevant because BJP leader and key member of the Cabinet Venkaiah Naidu will be contesting against Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson and an acclaimed civil servant, diplomat and former governor, who is a strong votary of secular ethos, and has clear and independent views.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 05, 2017 21:51 PM