The Law and Justice Ministry has given its consent to the proposal of the Election Commission to appoint Rajya Sabha Secretary-General Dr. V.K. Agnihotri as the Returning Officer for the election to the post of President.

For the poll to the post of Vice-President, this time the RO will be Lok Sabha Secretary-General T.K. Viswanathan.

Both the polls are likely to be held during mid-July and early-August this year respectively.

The term of President Pratibha Patil ends on July 24 and that of Vice-President Dr. Hamid Ansari on August 10.

A senior EC official said the ROs for the polls will be appointed on rotational basis and this post will be shuffled between the Secretary-Generals of the two Houses of Parliament during every election of President/Vice-President.

While the electoral college for the President’s election will be the members of the both Houses of Parliament and members of the Legislative Assemblies of all the States and Union Territories, for the Vice-President’s election only the members of parliament (Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha) are eligible to vote.

In the case of the Legislative Assemblies, their respective Secretaries will be the ROs for the President’s poll. If there is any problem in the appointment of the Secretary as RO in any State, then it might go to that State Chief Electoral Officer.

With present Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi’s term ending on July 11 this year, present Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, who is all set to succeed him as the CEC, will have the first major task of conducting the two polls immediately after taking over.

Moreover, he will have another duty of conducting the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat by December this year as the term of two Assemblies end on January 10 and January 17, 2013, respectively.

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