New Delhi, Aug 5: The stage is set for the vice presidential election 2017 that will take place in Parliament House with the electoral college comprising 790 members of both the houses. The contest is between ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate M Venkaiah Naidu and opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi. However, Venkaiah Naidu is expected to register an easy victory in the vice presidential election  to occupy the second most important constitutional post.

The Election Commission of India conducts the election to the office of the Vice-President. Hamid Ansari has been the Vice President and ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha since August 11, 2007. He won a second term on August 11, 2012. His current term ends on August 10. As per the rules, the election of the next Vice-President is to be held within 60 days of the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President.

How Vice Presidential Election is Conducted:

The Vice-President is elected by an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting in such election is by secret ballot. The Lok Sabha currently has 543 members and the Rajya Sabha 244. The Lok Sabha has two vacancies, while the Rajya Sabha has one vacancy. A candidate needs 394 in his/her favour to win the vice presidential election.

Eligibility Criteria:

A person cannot be elected as Vice-President unless he is a citizen of India, has completed the age of 35 years and is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha). If the person holds any office of profit under the Central or state government or any subordinate local authority, then he/she is not eligible to hold the office.

Procedure For Counting Votes:

  1. The number of first preference votes secured by each candidate is ascertained.
  2. The numbers so ascertained are added up – the total is divided by two and one is added to the quotient disregarding any remainder. The resulting number is the quota sufficient for a candidate to secure his return at the election.
  3. If at the end of the first or any subsequent count, the total number of votes credited to any candidate is equal to, or greater than the quota, that candidate is declared elected.
  4. If at the end of any count, no candidate can be declared elected, then;
  5. the candidate who upto the stage has been credited with the lowest number of votes shall be excluded from the poll, and all his ballot papers will be again scrutinised, one by one, with reference to the second preference marked, if any, on them. These ballot papers will be transferred to the respective remaining (continuing) candidates for whom such second preferences have been marked thereon, and the value of votes of those ballot papers credited to such candidates. These ballot papers shall be transferred to the aforesaid continuing candidate. The ballot papers on which the second preference is not marked shall be treated as exhausted ballot papers and shall not be counted further, even if they contain third or any subsequent preference. If at the end of this count, some candidate reaches the quota, he shall be declared elected.
  6. If at the end of the second count also, no candidate can be declared elected, the counting will proceed still further by exclusion of the candidate who is now lowest on the poll upto this stage. All his ballot papers, including the ballot papers which he might have received during the second count, will again be scrutinised with reference to the ‘next available preference’ marked on each of them. If on a ballot paper received by him in the first count, the second preference is marked for any of the continuing candidates, it shall be transferred to that candidate. If on any such ballot paper, the second preference is marked for the candidate who has already been excluded in the second round, such ballot paper shall be transferred with reference to the third preference, if any, for a continuing candidate. Similarly, the ballot papers received by him in the second round by way of transfer will also be scrutinised with reference to the third preference marked on them. This process of exclusion of candidates lowest on the poll will be repeated till one of the continuing candidates reaches the quota.

Ballot papers for vice presidential election are printed in pink colour with names in both English and Hindi language. Every ballot paper represents one vote at each count.

Who is M Venkaiah Naidu? NDA candidate Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu entered the RSS and within some decades, he became the BJP’s best known leader from southern India. He is well known for his witty one-liners. Naidu was a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet before being pitted for the prestigious election.

Who is Gopalkrishna Gandhi? Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is an acclaimed civil servant, diplomat and governor, who is a strong votary of secular ethos, and has clear and independent views. Gandhi, 72, had a distinguished career in the civil services before he became a diplomat and governor. Later, he turned an academic, author and columnist.

(Info courtesy: http://vicepresidentofindia.nic.in)