The Election Commission on Thursday announced that the Presidential election would be held on July 18 and counting of votes, if required, would be held on July 21, ahead of the end of President Ram Nath Kovind’s term on July 24.
Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said the notification would be issued on June 15, the last date for nominations would be June 29, the date for scrutiny of candidature would be June 30 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature would be July 2.
The electoral college for the poll would comprise 4,809 members — 233 Rajya Sabha MPs, 543 Lok Sabha MPs and 4,033 MLAs of State Assemblies and the Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry. The total value of votes would be 10,86,431 (5,43,200 for MPs or 700 votes each and 5,43,231 for MLAs based on 1971 Census population figures).
The 16th Presidential election would be the first one to be held since the State of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh — in 2019. The MLAs of the UT of J&K are no longer part of the electoral college. During the last Presidential poll in 2017, the 87 MLAs of the State of J&K had 72 votes each, taking the total value of their votes to 6,264 out of the total of 10,98,903 votes.
Mr. Kumar said each candidate would require 50 members of the electoral college to propose their name and another 50 to second it. The polling would be carried out in the Parliament House for MPs and at the respective State Assemblies for MLAs, with the Rajya Sabha Secretary General declared as the Returning Officer. The electors would cast their ballots using the pen provided by the EC as has been the norm, he said. Protocols regarding COVID-19 safety would be followed, he added.
A list of the members of the electoral college would be uploaded on the EC’s site and updated when the results of the ongoing elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats and Assembly by-elections are announced, he said. Political parties cannot issue a whip to their members, the CEC said. Mr. Kumar said electors in preventive detention would be allowed to vote and those in jail would have to seek parole in order to cast their ballots.
In 2017, Mr. Kovind won with 7,02,044 votes over former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar who got 3,67,314 votes. While the total number of electors was 4,896 in 2017, each MP had 709 votes and MLAs had a total votes of 5,49,495 based on the 1971 Census.