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Presidential poll begins, Modi among first to vote

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Modi was among the first to cast his vote to elect the next president of here today.

Voting began at 10 AM and will continue till 5 PM. A total of 32 polling stations -- one in House and one each in the state legislative assemblies -- have been set up, officials said.

The Commission has appointed 33 observers who are overseeing the conduct of the While two observers are present in House, one each is deployed in the respective state assemblies.

The will be declared on July 20 in

The electorate, comprising elected and members and members of state assemblies, is tilted in favour of the NDA, but the opposition is working to seek support of some regional parties in favour of their candidate.

Both Kovind, former governor, and Kumar, former Speaker, have held a series of meetings across states to mobilise support for their candidature.

The tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, the 13th president of India, ends on July 24.

The electoral college, which elects the president through the system of proportional representation, comprises MPs and members of state legislative assemblies.

A total of 4,896 voters -- 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs -- are eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.

While the speaker, an elected member, can vote, the two nominated members in the Lower House from the Anglo- Indian community cannot. The 12 nominated members in the are also ineligible.

Since the is through a secret ballot, the parties cannot issue a whip to their members to vote for a particular candidate.

Thirteen vacancies in and state assemblies will be filled up after the presidential elections.

The NDA, led by the BJP, has 5,37,683 votes, including the Shiv Sena, and the shortage is around 12,000 votes.

The promised support from the BJD, the TRS and the YSR Congress and likely backing from the AIADMK factions could offset the shortfall of the presidential votes by a substantial margin.

In the 2012 elections, Pranab Mukherjee garnered 7,13,763 votes, while Pratibha Patil secured 6,38,116 votes before that in 2007. Both Mukherjee and Patil were Congress nominees.

This time, the secretary general is the returning officer. Last time, it was the secretary general of the

The Commission has barred MPs and MLAs from carrying their personal pens inside the voting chamber. They will have to mark their ballot with specially designed marker pens.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 17 2017. 11:22 IST