The Monsoon Session of the Parliament commenced as voting for India’s next president is underway on Monday, 18 July. Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha appealed to the voters to vote for him to “save democracy” as the voting began. The election will witness a tough contest between NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu and the Opposition’s Yashwant Sinha.
At the outset of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament on Monday morning, PM Modi earlier noted that India will complete 75 years of its independence on 15 August and that the country will get the guidance of a new president and vice president during this critical period.
Polling in the Presidential election is underway at the Parliament House and the state legislative assemblies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, chief ministers from across the country, and other MPs and MLAs cast their votes on Monday morning. In all, around 4,800 MPs and MLAs will vote till 5 pm on Monday to elect the 15th President of India. The counting of votes will take place on July 21 while the next President will take oath on July 25.
With the support of BJD, YSRCP, BSP, AIADMK, TDP, JD(S), Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and now JMM, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Droupadi Murmu has a clear edge over Opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha as over 60 percent votes are expected to be polled in her favour. She will become the first woman from the tribal community to hold the country’s top constitutional post if elected.
Before naming Sinha, a former Union minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the opposition camp had approached former Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah to take part in the presidential battle. In the 2017 election, Ram Nath Kovind became the President after defeating joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar. Kovind polled 7,02,000 votes compared with Kumar’s 3,67,000, out of a total of 10,69,358 votes.
Rajya Sabha observed silence as a mark of respect to the memory of the departed. Chairman Naidu made obituary references to former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, ex-UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and legendary Hindustani classical musician Pandit Shivkumar Sharma among others.
Electoral fate of Murmu, Sinha to be stored in ballot boxes, not EVMs:
Ever wondered why electronic voting machines, used in four Lok Sabha elections and 127 assembly polls since 2004, are not deployed in polls to elect the President and Vice President of India, members of Rajya Sabha, and members of state legislative councils? The EVMs are based on a technology where they work as aggregators of votes in direct elections such as the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
But the election of the President is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. In accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote, every elector can mark as many preferences, as there are candidates contesting the election.
The EVMs, officials explained, is not designed to register this system of voting. The EVM is an aggregator of votes and under the system of proportional representation, the machine will have to compute votes based on preference and it requires an altogether different technology. In other words, a different type of EVM would be needed.