A total of 4,896 elected representatives will vote on Monday to select the next president of India. In contention for the top post are Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance’s Ram Nath Kovind and the Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar. The results of the presidential election will be declared on July 20.
Of the total voters eligible to exercise their choice in the election, 4,120 are MLAs and 776 are elected MPs. The election is being held through a secret ballot at 32 polling stations. The voting will be held between 10 am and 5 pm. Votes will only be considered valid if the special violet ink is used by the representatives.
Forty-one Lok Sabha members and Rajya Sabha members have been allowed to cast their presidential vote from state legislative Assemblies, while five MLAs will vote from Parliament.
The numbers are stacked against Kumar as almost 40 parties have pledged their support for NDA’s candidate Kovind. These parties include regional ones like the factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, YSR Congress, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), Biju Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and independent representatives.
Besides the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal, Kumar has been promised support from the Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, All India Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and Nationalist Congress Party among others.
‘Dalit versus Dalit’
Both Kovind and Kumar are Dalit. This means that India will have its second Dalit president, after KR Narayanan, who was India’s head of state 1997 and 2002.
Kumar, a five-time MP, was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009. She is the daughter of Dalit leader and former Deputy Prime Minister late Jagjivan Ram. Kovind, a former Bihar governor, has been a Supreme Court lawyer and was president of the BJP’s SC/ST Morcha from 1998 to 2002.