With all eyes on the Parliamentary election to elect the next Vice-President of the country, Members of Parliament (MP)s from both Houses have started casting their ballot to select their favorite candidate. While the voting has already started from 10 am today and will continue till 5 pm, the counting of the votes will start soon after polling and the result will be declared at 7 pm. The ruling NDA led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pitched veteran saffron party leader M Venkaiah Naidu as the candidate for the Vice-Presidential election and on the other hand, the opposition at the Parliament led by Congress has nominated former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi against Naidu.
With BJP emerging as the largest party in the Rajya Sabha for the first time, Venkaiah Naidu’s chances to become the 15th Vice-President of the country is seemingly obvious. To add more to the BJP cards, the saffron party also has the support of AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. However, even after its alliance with the BJP to form the government in Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) had earlier stated that the party will be supporting Gopalkrishna Gandhi at the Vice-Presidential elections.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 5, 2017
BJP came to power with a clear majority in the Lok Sabha after its massive victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections while the Congress witnessed a downfall by managing to establish power in just six out of 29 states. Also in the Rajya Sabha, with reflections of its steadily falling fortunes across the country, the Congress party had, for the first time, come to the second spot. With Madhya Pradesh tribal leader Sampathiya Uikey’s oath as a Rajya Sabha member on Thursday, the Narendra Modi led party took the number of lawmakers to 58, one more than the grand old party of India. Even during the epic rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP had mostly below 50 seats in the Upper House.
Today’s Vice-Presidential election is the 15th such election in the country following the previous elections to this office held in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012. While in the Presidential election both MPs and MLAs can cast their votes, to elect the Vice President only the Members of Parliament will be voting.
By Priyam Mukhopadhyay