It's Dhankhar vs Alva in vice presidential election today
India will elect its new vice president (VP) on Saturday, more than a week after Droupadi Murmu became the country's first tribal woman president. The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) supports candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar, who previously served as Bengal's governor. He faces Margaret Alva, who is supported by the Opposition. The vote arithmetic favors Dhankhar against Alva, and he is expected to sail though easily.
- The election to select India's next VP will take place on Saturday, between 10 am and 5 pm, as per the Election Commission of India's (ECI) June 29 announcement.
- The ECI said that the votes would be counted on the same day.
- The term of office of the current Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, ends on August 10.
The NDA has 394 out of 780 votes in the electoral college, which is more than the required majority mark of 391. The number of supporters and allies is said to be approaching 500. In addition, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC), one of the largest Opposition parties in the parliament, announced that it will abstain from voting. This paves the way for Dhankhar's victory.
Dhankhar's tenure as governor of Bengal was marked by constant conflict with Mamata Banerjee and the TMC. Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSRCP, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Odisha's CM Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJD) are again supporting the NDA candidate, after having supported Murmu in the Presidential election. The 14th Vice President of India will reportedly be sworn in on August 14.
The vice-president of India, the country's second-highest constitutional post after the president, is elected by an electoral college comprised of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members. The electoral college for the VP includes both elected and nominated members of Parliament, whereas only elected members can vote for the president. Furthermore, members of State Assemblies aren't eligible to vote in the electoral college for VP.
The VP presides over the lower house of Parliament i.e. the Rajya Sabha. In the absence of India's president owing to various reasons, intentional or unintentional, the VP becomes acting president until the president resumes office or a new president is nominated.
"MPs fight great electoral battles to gain entry to the Temple of Democracy-our Parliament. Each of them is a hero....a unique voice, that deserves to be heard," Alva reportedly stated on the eve of the elections. "If Parliament is to function effectively, MPs, independent of their parties, must find ways to rebuild trust....it's the MPs who determine the character of our Parliament," she added.
Meanwhile, ahead of the crucial elections, Dhankhar reportedly met several MPs in a series of courtesy meetings on Friday. The recent presidential and vice presidential elections and building consensus over a candidate have tested the opposition unity ahead of the 2024 polls.