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Ahead of presidential poll, a world of protocol, politics

The Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.  

Voting, counting in room 62 of Parliament House

Voting for electing the next President of India will take place on July 17, and the winner will be sworn in to office by the Chief Justice of India, in a time honoured ritual in the Central Hall of Parliament on July 25.

In between these fixed points of rituals of state, is a world of preparation, protocol and politics.

The electoral college for presidential polls consists of all MPs (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, excluding nominated members) and MLAs of all State legislatures.

The voting in Parliament House in New Delhi will take place in room number 62, and coincidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi will all be casting their votes from table number 6 in this room.

 

Meira’s name first

While chances of Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA’s candidate for President, winning the polls are brighter than former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, her name will appear first on the ballot.

Utpal Kumar Singh, additional secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and E.V.S.N. Prasad, joint secretary at MEA have been appointed as observers for the polls by the Election Commission.

Crucial colours

“The ballot paper for MPs will be green in colour while MLAs will be given pink coloured ballot papers. A pen with violet coloured ink will be provided to voters to mark their preference, any other mark, by any other coloured pen will be invalidated,” said a senior official in the Lok Sabha.

 

Significantly, this is not as minor a detail as it seems, for in June 2016, the Congress backed candidate for the Rajya Sabha from Haryana, R.K. Anand lost the polls as 14 votes of Congress MLAs stood invalidated over various reasons, one of the theories for invalidation touted at that time was the use of a wrong coloured pen in marking a preference.

MLAs wishing to vote in New Delhi have to write for special permission for doing so from the Election Commission of India and it is expected that BJP president Amit Shah, an MLA from Gujarat will be casting his vote in Delhi rather than Gandhinagar.

Counting for polls will take place on July 20 — again in room 62 of Parliament — and various State legislatures. On July 23, a special farewell ceremony will be organised at the Central Hall of Parliament for President Pranab Mukherjee by members of both Houses of Parliament.

On the 25, the presidential horse driven coach or “buggy” as its called will arrive at the residence of the president elect and convey him/her to Parliament House, where the oath of office will be administered by the Chief Justice of India. President Mukherjee will then exchange seats with his successor, and after the ceremony leave for his newly allotted bungalow, 10 Rajaji Marg, and the new President will leave for Rashtrapati Bhawan.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 2:17:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ahead-of-presidential-polls-a-world-of-protocol-politics/article19287355.ece

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