The counting of votes for the 16th Presidential election began on Monday at 11 am. Ruling NDA's Droupadi Murmu and Opposition's Yashwant Sinha are pitted against each other in the contest, with voters clearly stacked in favour of Murmu, who, if elected, will be the first tribal woman to occupy the top constitutional post in the country.
Here's all you need to know:
1. Rajya Sabha Secretary General P C Mody, who is the Chief Returning Officer for the poll, will oversee the counting Thursday, the result of which is likely to be declared by the evening. Mody will first brief on the poll trends after all votes of MPs have been counted, and then again after votes of 10 states in alphabetical order have been counted. The results are expected around 4 pm.
2. Tribal leader and former Jharkhand governor Murmu is the presidential candidate of the BJP-NDA alliance. The 64-year-old Murmu will be the first tribal woman to be the President of India if she is elected, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked in the favour of the BJP-led NDA.
3. Yashwant Sinha is a former BJP leader, who started his political career with the Janata Dal in 1984 after resigning from the IAS. He became MP in 1988. He served as the Minister of Finance twice—under Vajpayee and before that under PM Chandra Shekhar for a short spell (1990-91).
4. A mega "Abhinandan Yatra" has been planned by the BJP. It would be led by BJP chief J P Nadda and attended by thousands of leaders and workers after the results are declared on Thursday for the presidential polls.
5. Ram Nath Kovind's tenure is ending on July 24 and the new president will take oath on July 25.
6. With ballot boxes from all states having reached the Parliament House, poll officials are ready for the counting in room number 63, the strongroom of Parliament where the boxes are guarded behind a round-the-clock security.
7. All ballot boxes from state assemblies had reached the Parliament’s strongroom on Tuesday evening and have been locked there since. The ballot boxes had been flown in to the national capital as ‘Mr Ballot Box’ from across the states. 'Mr Ballot Box' came seated in the front row of aircraft under the watchful gaze of the Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) of their respective states.
8. The residents in Odisha's Rairangpur, the hometown of Ms Murmu, are also ready to celebrate with 20,000 sweets prepared. A tribal dance and victory procession has also been planned.
9. In the counting, the candidate who receives more votes may not be victorious. The victory depends on the total value of votes. The value of votes received by each candidate is added and divided by two. One is added to the result and the candidate who gets more value wins.
10. Polling for the presidential election was held between 10am to 5pm Monday at 31 locations including the Parliament house and 30 centres within state legislative assemblies.