Prez poll on July 17; NDA, Oppn yet to open cards on candidate

NEW DELHI
7 Jun 2017

Polls to elect the 15th President of India will be held on July 17 for which the nomination process will begin from June 14 with the issuance of a notification, the Election Commission announced today.

The counting of votes will take place on July 20 in New Delhi where all the ballot boxes will be brought. Both the ruling NDA and the Opposition are yet open their cards on the Presidential candidate. While the ruling alliance is likely to announce its nominee in the next few days, the Opposition is seeking to unite all non-NDA parties under a common platform to put up a consensus candidate for the Presidential election. As per the schedule, June 28 is the last day for nominations, while a candidate can withdraw from the electoral battle till July 1.

If there is no consensus between the NDA and the Opposition, the number of serious candidates in the fray will be clear by July 1 evening. Various opposition parties have already held deliberations and have decided to set up a sub group that is likely to meet within a week to build consensus on a joint candidate. The electorate, comprising elected Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members and members of state assemblies, is tilted in favour of the NDA, but the Opposition is trying to woo some regional parties to support their candidate.

The tenure of the present incumbent, Pranab Mukherjee, comes to an end 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 4896 voters --- 4120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs -- are eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative councils are not part of the electoral college.

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