Presidential polls 2017: Voting ends, decision on Thursday

Presidential election 2017 Live updates - Ram Nath Kovind vs Meira Kumar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with BJP President Amit Shah cast their votes at the Parliament.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2017 5:41 pm
UPA candidate Meira Kumar and NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind. (PTI Photo)

Ram Nath Kovind or Meira Kumar? Who will be India’s next President? 776 MPs and 4120 MLAs will decide in a secret ballot vote today when polling began at 10 am. As things stand, Kovind is likely to sweep the election with 70 per cent of the electoral college backing him. However, political parties cannot issue a whip to their members to vote for a particular nominee which means that cross-voting is possible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah cast their votes at Parliament. Before casting his vote, the Prime Minister addressed the media, saying the Monsoon Session, which begun today, brings ‘hope’. “Like the Monsoon brings hope, this session also brings same spirit of hope,” PM Modi said. “This session gives the country an opportunity to elect the president and the vice president,” he added.

Meanwhile, BJP is scheduled to hold a parliamentary board meeting at 6 pm to decide its Vice-Presidential candidate later today. The opposition has already picked former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its candidate.

Presidential polls live updates: 

5:05 pm:  Voting for presidential election ends, Kovind or Meira? Decision on  July, 20th.

4:57 pm: The NCP asserting party stands with UPA candidate Meira Kovind, denied ‘rumours’ of indulging in cross-voting during the presidential polls. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “The rumours that NCP MPs and MLAs are voting for the NDA presidential candidate are false. We are voting for our candidate Meira Kumar.”

4.49 pm: With 228 legislatures having excercised their franchise, voting for presidential election concluded in Madhya Pradesh.

4.43 pm: The voting for presidential election concluded in Gujarat with 180 out of total of 182 members of Gujarat assembly voted.  In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the ruling BJP has 122 MLAs, while the Congress has 57, the NCP has two and the JD(U) one.

4.20 pm: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, after casting his vote, says it’s a matter of pride for the people as the “son of the state” is going to become the President. “This is a matter of pride for the people of Uttar,” he tells reporters.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi with party Vice president Rahul Gandhi wait to cast vote in the Presidential Election. (PTI Photo)

3.46 pm: Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, after casting his vote, says: “There is hope that those parties, which have till now opposed the BJP and will be the target of the party in the coming state elections, might change their decision (to support Kovind) at the last moment considering the situation in the country,” Omar said. “As far as the numbers are concerned, it seems the NDA has an advantage in the electoral college, but in a secret ballot you cannot show your vote to anyone,” he added.

3.20 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the Presidential polls is a vote against ‘injustice’. She appealed to the electorate not to support BJP and the “stand beside the people”, reported ANI. “All opposition parties must unite together. This is the best time,” Mamata was quoted as saying by PTI. “We voted for Meira Kumar to register our protest against present atrocities in the country.”

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj holds hand of Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and President of National Conference Farooq Abdullah after casting his vote in the Presidential Election. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

3.10 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told MLAs to “vote following their conscience”. On the day of the presidential polls, Kejriwal said the AAP is supporting Meira Kumar, the opposition presidential nominee, despite a BJP MLA claiming “10-12 legislators” are backing NDA’s candidate. “We are supporting Meira Kumar (opposition presidential candidate),” Kejriwal clarified, reported PTI. “All should vote following their conscience.” The AAP convener cast his vote in the Delhi Assembly today.

2:10 pm: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Kovind will register a “decisive victory” and would turn out as an “honest” president, who, he said, will work hard according to the Constitution. “It would have been better if there was consensus (among all parties over Kovind’s nomination). But no issues,” he said.

1:50 pm: On the day of Presidential polls, Himachal pradesh recorded a voting percentage of 100% with all 67 MLAs casting their vote. The 68-member House has one vacant seat after the death of Congress MLA Karan Singh.

1:35 pm: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar cast his vote for Presidential Elections in the first hour. Rajasthan CM Vasundhra Raje also cast her vote earlier in the day.

1:28 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived at Delhi Assembly to cast his vote Presidential Elections. The AAP leader was seen with an umbrella as the city saw showers in the day.

1:25 pm: Amid on-going speculation of cross-voting from the two factions of Samajwadi Party, senior party leader Shivpal Yadav said that vote should be given to Ram Nath Kovind. “Humne tay kiya hai ki rashtrapati chunav mein #RamNathKovind ko hi vote karna chahiye,” Yadav told ANI. The party had earlier indicated support for Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar.

1:15 pm: Chief Minister of several states came out to cast his vote. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat cast his vote for Presidential elections. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao also cast their vote for Presidential polls in their respective assemblies.

1:10 pm: Who is NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. Click here to read

1:02 pm: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi after casting their vote in the Parliament.

1:00 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis cast his vote at Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in Mumbai.

12:50 pm: NCP leader Praful Patel told reporters that Ram Nath Kovind’s victory is certain. Speaking to reporters in the Parliament House complex, Patel said, “There is no rocket science, Ram Nath Kovind will win today.” Patel went on to say that most party leaders follow party lines when voting. “Because all MPs don’t necessarily vote only according to conscience, they also vote according to party lines and party lines are divided somewhat on ideology, principles and political positioning,” he said.

12:40 pm: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia cast his vote early in the morning. According to a report by Hindustan Times, Sisodia was one of the first few MLAs to reach Delhi Assembly. Speaking to reporters outside Delhi assembly, Sisodia said that India should come as victorious after the President polls, the newspaper reported. “More than who wins, it’s important that the country wins,” Sisodia said.

12:25 pm: Meira Kumar on Monday said that the decision for the President will be in India’s favour. Speaking to reporters on the polling day, the former Lok Sabha speaker said, “We are fighting battle of ideologies. I had urged the collegium to listen to voice of their conscience. Decision will be taken in India’s favour.

12:13 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday casts his vote for the Presidential election at Odisha Assembly in Bhubanewsar, news agency ANI reported.

12:10 pm: Congress spokesperson Rajdeep Surjewala on Monday iterated that the Presidential elections is a contest of ideologies. Speaking to news agency ANI, Surjewala said “Desh ki rajneeti mein vicharon ke sangharsh aur loktantrik mulyon ko kaayam rakhne ki chunauti iss rashtrapati chunav mein hai.”

12:00 pm:  Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh cast his vote. In a post on Twitter, the CM said that he feels a sense of responsibility while casting his vote. “Casting my vote to elect the 14th President of India. Feel a great sense of responsibility at being part of an important democratic process,” Singh wrote. ‘

11:40 am: NCP leader Praful Patel told news agency ANI that all his party MPs and MLAs have voted for Meira Kumar.

11:30 am: The polling will end at 5 pm today. After the voting ends, the ballot boxes from the states would be flown to Delhi and stored in Parliament. The votes would be counted and results would be announced on July 20, five days before President Pranab Mukherjee’s Presidential term expires.

11:18 am:  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu cast his vote in Amaravati.

11:15 am: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee express happiness over majority of votes from West Bengal going in favour of Meira Kumar ut said Kovind is likely to win the elections. “It seems NDA Presidential candidate will come through. I am happy that vast majority of votes from WB will go to Meira Kumar,” Chatterjee told ANI.

11:08 am: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, in a statement to media, slammed Congress for naming Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its vice-president candidate. “Madam ji(Sonia Gandhi)you elected Gopalkrishna Gandhi as VP candidate. He used all his power to save Yakub Memon from death penalty,” Raut told news agency ANI.

11:00 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan arrived at Madhya Pradesh Assembly in Bhopal to cast his vote.

10: 42 am: DMK working President M K Stalin cast his vote at Tamil Nadu Assembly for Presidential poll. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also cast his vote at Assam Legislative Assembly.

DMK working President M K Stalin casts vote. (ANI)

10:40 am: UP CM Yogi Adityanath, while casting his vote in UP assembly said that Ram Nath Kovind is certain to win. “The polls to decide the next President has started. There is no doubt that Ram Nath Kovind will win,” the CM said.

10:30 am: Meanwhile, imprisoned NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramesh Kadam, who were both arrested in a corruptions case, will be brought to Maharashtra Assembly to cast their votes. The order to allow Kadam to vote was given by Bombay High Court on Friday. The court, in its order, had said that Kadam shall be brought back to jail after he casts his vote.

10:25 am: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath reached UP Assembly in Lok Sabha to cast his vote.

10: 18 am: On the day of Presidential polls, BSP Supremo Mayawati said that victory of either of the two candidates will mean a victory of the movement started by her party. “No matter who wins, President will be from Scheduled Caste. It is a huge victory for our movement & party,” Mayawati told reporters, according to news agency ANI.

10:13 am: Scenes from Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly where MLAs are queuing up to cast their votes to elect the next President of India.

10:10 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with BJP President Amit Shah cast their votes at the Parliament. The Prime Minister earlier addressed the media after reaching the Parliament and spoke on the upcoming Monsoon session in the Parliament. “Today the Monsoon Session begins. Like the Monsoon brings hope, this session also brings same spirit of hope,” PM Modi said. “This session gives the country an opportunity to elect the president and the vice president,” he added.

10:05 am Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be among the first lawmakers who will cast his vote at the UP assembly in Lucknow, Hindustan Times reported.

10:02 am: The Election Commission on Sunday said that MPs and MLAs who will arrive at the parliament to cast their votes to elect the next President of India, will not be allowed to carry their personal pens inside the voting chamber. The decision has been taken after the ink controversy in Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year. Specially serial-numbered pens with violet ink have been supplied by the Election Commission to ensure that only the writing instrument issued by it is used by voters to mark their votes tomorrow.

10:00 am: BJP President Amit Shah reached reached Parliament on Monday where the Presidential polls are currently underway.

BJP President Amit Shah arrived at the Parliament. (ANI)

9:45 am: Meanwhile in Karnataka Legislative Assembly, preparations are being made for the Presidential polls. See Images below

9:35 am: Scenes from Parliament where polling to decide the next President of India will start in some time.

Image Credits: Neeraj Image Credits: Neeraj

9:30 am: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, in a statement to news agency ANI said that Ram Nath Kovind will sweep the elections. “Ram Nath Kovind ji will win with a comfortable & respectable margin,” Naidu said.

9:25 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah will cast their votes at 10 am in the Parliament, news agency ANI reported.

9:15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Kovind on Sunday congratulated him “in advance”. PM Modi also assured him of support from his government at a meeting of the NDA MPs. The Prime Minister also recalled that the former Bihar governor worked as “sahyogi” (aide) of Morarji Desai during his Presidential term and said that government will offer all “sahyog” (co-operation) to him.

Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an NDA meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo

9:05 am: There appears to be tensions between the two factions of Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, which may trigger cross-voting. Mulayam had recently praised the BJP top leadership for picking Kovind and he had also attended a dinner that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had organised in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Lucknow visit on June 20, which Akhilesh Yadav had skipped.

9:00 am: According to reports, the BJP is likely to announce its vice-presidential candidate today after the parliamentary board meeting at 6 PM.

8: 55 am: In spite of support from Aam Aadmi Party, senior AAP leader H S Phoolka said that he will not support a Congress candidate. “I have been closely associated with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (case) and if I vote for the Congress then people will think that the party has been pardoned for these riots. It can never be forgiven for it. Therefore, I will not vote for the Congress candidate,” Phoolka said.

8:53 am: To read how the President of India is elected, click here: How is the President of India elected?

8:52 am: How does the voting process work? The procedure works unlike a traditional voting where a voter casts one vote for his/her selected candidate. The voting is done through Single Transferable Vote System. The voter marks out its order of preference of candidates. At least the first preference needed to be given by voter for it to be counted.

8:50 am: Who decides the next President of India? The President of India is elected by an electoral college comprising of elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Legislative Assemblies of States. Nominated members of state assemblies and the two Houses are not allowed to participate in the election process.

8:45 am: Meanwhile, in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, supporters of BJP performed a “hawan” to pray for the victory of NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. See visuals below

8:42 am: Leaders of Opposition parties will meet at 10 am today in the Parliament, news agency ANI reported.

8: 40 am: Check out visuals from Rehearsal for the swearing-in ceremony of the new President at Delhi’s Vijay Chowk.

8:13 am: Meanwhile, BJP is scheduled to hold a parliamentary board meeting to decide its Vice-Presidential candidate later today. The opposition has already picked former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its vice-presidential candidate.

8:10 am: Meira Kumar is likely to get support from all major political parties from West Bengal. In a rare show of political unity, TMC, The Left and The Congress are likely to vote for Kumar.

8:00 am: Ram Nath Kovind, who recently concluded his visit to Gujarat, his “second home”, has received support from several regional heavy-weights, including TDP, TRS, BJD, YSRCP, LJP and Shiv Sena. Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has also indicated that it would support Kovind’s candidature. Opposition’s selection Meira Kumar will be backed by parties like TMC, CPM, RJD, SP, BSP. Aam Aadmi Party has also hinted that it will support Kumar in her bid to become the next President.

7:45 am: A total of 95 candidates filed nominations for the top Constitutional post, of which 93 were rejected on various grounds, leaving only Kovind and Opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the fray. Kovind appears to be leading the battle between the two leaders at the moment with support from nearly 70 per cent of the electoral college votes.

7:42 am: Despite the former Bihar Governor’s dominant position, Opposition’s pick Meira Kumar left no stone unturned to gain support from political parties. The former Lok Sabha Speaker met with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday at his residence to seek support of the Aam Aadmi Party. The contest which is largely being viewed as a clash between two Dalit leaders, was described by Kumar as an “ideological battle”. Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday sought for “a vote of conscience” and described the contest as “a clash of ideas and a conflict of disparate values”.

7:40 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the all party-meet, on Sunday in Parliament, described the elections as “historic”  and adding that it is the first time no political party has made “futile statements on the Presidential candidate of another party”. “Every party has respected the dignity of the election. This is the maturity of our democracy. Now, we have to make sure no vote goes to waste,” the Prime Minister said on Twitter.

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