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Prez poll today: Ram Nath Kovind vs Meira Kumar

Published on 16 Jul. 2017 11:37 PM IST
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The election to appoint the next President of India will take place on Monday at Parliament House in New Delhi, and in all State Legislative Assembly Secretariats. The race to Raisina Hills will pit Opposition nominee and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar against the Centre’s pick and former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind. While the polling is largely being viewed as a contest between two Dalit leaders, Kumar, at a conference earlier this month, had said that it is a “battle of ideologies”.
Last week, Kovind said the Presidential post is above party politics. “A president never belongs to any party. All people irrespective of caste, creed and religion, state are equal. Vote bank is not important for me but development matters.”
The President of India will be elected by the Electoral college comprising of all elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assemblies of States. To become the president, either of the candidate needs to secure at least one vote more than 50 per cent of the total votes polled. The results of the election will be announced on Thursday, five days before President Pranab Mukherjee’s term expires.
Opposition’s selection Meira Kumar will be backed by parties like TMC, CPM, RJD, SP, BSP. Aam Aadmi Party has also hinted that it will support Kumar in her bid to become the next President. 
SP divided in two camps: Samajwadi Party appears divided on the eve of the Presidential election with camps led by its patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and party chief Akhilesh Yadav all set to vote for rival candidates, triggering possibility of cross-voting.
Though the division in the party may not have any bearing on the election result, it will certainly complicate the family feud further, said an SP insider, requesting anonymity. The sharp differences in the SP on the issue of presidential nominee was clear right from the day Ram Nath Kovind was chosen as the NDA nominee.
EC informs MPs, MLAs
MPs and MLAs cannot use their pens and will have to mark their preferences in the Presidential poll on Monday with a specially-designed writing instrument. Voting by using any other pen will be held invalid, the Election Commission (EC) said on Sunday. The violet ink pen, procured from Mysore Paints that supplies indelible ink to mark voters’ fingers, carries a unique serial number and will be handed over to the voter before they enter the voting chambers in Parliament and state assemblies.
The specially designed pens are being supplied “so as to ensure that only instrument supplied by the EC is used for marking the ballot”, a statement from the poll panel said.
“Before entering (a) voting chamber, one polling staff will collect personal pens, if any one is possessing, and will give (the) special pen to MPs and MLAs for marking [a] ballot,” the statement said. The special pen will have to be returned to the polling staff. “Voting by using any other pen may lead to [an] invalidation of the vote at the time of counting,” the statement said
. The poll panel has also prepared special posters for dos and don’ts so as to “ensure peaceful poll”. The instructions include maintenance of secrecy and non-issuance of a whip.
A total 32 polling stations — one in Parliament House Room No 62 and rest one each in state legislative assemblies — have been set for the election that will see NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind pitted against opposition candidate Meira Kumar.
Ballot papers will be available in two colours — green for use of MPs and pink for MLAs.
A total of 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs are eligible to vote on Monday. 
The ballot boxes will be brought to Delhi for counting on July 20.
The EC has appointed 33 observers to conduct the election. Two observers will be in Parliament and one each in 31 legislative assemblies.
The panel has also permitted 14 Rajya Sabha members including Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien and Mukul Roy to vote in legislative assemblies.
Forty-one Lok Sabha members including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have been allowed to vote in their state assemblies.
Similarly, the panel has permitted five MLAs to exercise their vote in Parliament and four other MLAs to vote in other state legislative assemblies.

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