Vice presidential poll on Saturday; numbers stacked in favour of NDA’s Dhankhar

NEW DELHI, 5 Aug: Members of Parliament of both Houses will vote on Saturday to elect the next vice president of India in an election where NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar is pitted against opposition pick Margaret Alva.

With numbers stacked in favour of the NDA, former West Bengal governor Dhankhar is set for an easy win.

Cracks were visible in opposition unity as Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress decided to abstain from voting, alleging lack of consultations while deciding on the name of Alva.

The 80-year-old Alva is a Congress veteran and has served as governor of Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, while the 71-year-old Dhankhar is a Jat leader from Rajasthan with a socialist background.

Alva, however, received the backing of regional party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Friday, two days after the Aam Aadmi Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) lent their support to the opposition candidate. The AIMIM has also extended its support to Alva.

With the support of some regional parties like the Janta Dal (United), YSRCP, BSP, AIADMK and Shiv Sena, the NDA nominee is likely to get over 515 votes – enough for a comfortable win for him.

Alva is likely to get over 200 votes, going by the support announced by parties for her candidature so far.

While polling will be held from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, the ballots will be counted immediately after that. By late Saturday evening, the returning officer will announce the name of the next vice president.

Members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including nominated members, are eligible to vote in the vice presidential poll.

The term of incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu ends on 10 August. The vice president is also the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

The electoral college in the vice presidential election comprises a total of 788 members of both Houses of Parliament. Since all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of vote of each MP would be the same – one, the Election Commission has said. (PTI)