Bypolls to three Lok Sabha and 12 Assembly seats will be held soon, months ahead of the election for the President’s office due later this year to fill up vacancies in the electoral college. The term of President Pranab Mukherjee is coming to an end on July 24.
An official in the Election Commission said the schedule of the bypolls will be announced in the next couple of days and all vacant seats will be filled up by end of April.
The vacant Lok Sabha seats are Anantnag and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir and Malappuram in Kerala. While Amritsar seat in Punjab is also vacant, the bypoll was held along with the Punjab Assembly polls on February 4.
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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.
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 in Rajya Sabha are also ineligible.
In December last, the poll panel had written to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats seeking details of MPs and vacant seats. It had also sought similar details from the state assemblies.
With the inputs now available with the poll watchdog, it has decided to fill up the vacancies.
In 2012, the election for the President’s office was announced on June 12 and held on July 19. The term of Mukherjee as the President had commenced on July 25.
This time, the Lok Sabha secretary general will be the returning officer. Last time, it was the secretary seneral of Rajya Sabha.