Vice-presidential poll in India

Of 780 MPs, 725 cast vote; NDA's Dhankhar frontrunner


NDA's vice-presidential candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders in New Delhi. ((Arvind Yadav/HT file))

Aug. 6: Of the 780 MPs, 725 voted for the vice-presidential election on Saturday as the voting ended at 5 pm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh cast their ballots early in the day, while two BJP MPs Sunny Deol and Sanjay Dhotre, who are unwell, did not vote.

National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Jagdeep Dhankhar (71) is pitted against Opposition's Margaret Alva (80) for the post.

The Trinamool Congress, which has 39 MPs, including 23 in Lok Sabha, has already announced its decision to abstain from this election.

Polling to elect the next Vice President of India began at 10 am, with Modi being among the first ones to do so.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair and needed support to stand up and vote. CPM MP John Brittas was among those who helped the veteran leader in exercising his franchise. The two-term former prime minister greeted those present with folded hands.

Home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president JP Nadda, education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and commerce minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal were among the leaders who turned up early at the Parliament House.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi also cast their ballot post noon.

With the ruling BJP having an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and 91 members in the Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar has a clear edge over his rival. He is likely to succeed incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu, whose tenure ends on August 10.

All MPs of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including nominated members, are entitled to vote in the vice presidential election.

The two Houses of Parliament together have a sanctioned strength of 788 MPs, of which there are eight vacancies in the Upper House. (Hindustan Times)

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