Voting to elect the next vice president of India concluded in Parliament at 5 pm on Saturday, ANI reported. The counting process has started and the result will be declared later in the evening.
Of the electoral college of 780 MPs, 725 cast their votes resulting in a 93% turnout, PTI reported, citing officials. Eight seats in the Upper House are currently vacant, and the Trinamool Congress, with 39 MPs, had decided to abstain. However two of the party’s MPs Sisir Kumar Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari did vote on Friday, according to PTI.
The Opposition has fielded Congress leader Margaret Alva, while the Bharatiya Janata Party’s pick is former West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, which was at loggerheads with Dhankhar when he was the state governor, has said it will abstain from voting in the election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to cast his vote on Saturday. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP chief JP Nadda arrived together to cast their votes, reported PTI.
Home Minister Amit Shah and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also voted.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair for the elections. Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh, BJP chief whip Rakesh Singh and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party’s Raghu Rama Krishna Raju also voted.
From Opposition parties, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Dayanidhi Maran and Tiruchi Siva also cast their votes, reported The Times of India.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party MP Rahul Gandhi also cast their ballots on Saturday morning.
Dhankhar is being seen as the front runner of the elections as the National Democratic Alliance has 441 MPs, including 394 of the BJP. The alliance also has the support of five nominated members, easily pushing Dhankhar past the majority mark of 390.
The term of the current Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10.