Vice Presidential Elections To Be Held Tomorrow, Numbers Stacked In Favour NDA Candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar

Besides BJP and its NDA partners, non-allies like Bahujan Samaj Party and Telugu Desam Party have also pledged support to Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Vice Presidential Elections To Be Held Tomorrow, Numbers Stacked In Favour NDA Candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Vice Presidential candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar is set for an easy win in the vice presidential election on Saturday as numbers are stacked in his favour.

Members of Parliament will vote on Saturday to elect the next Vice President of India. Dhankhar is up against the Opposition's candidate Margaret Alva.

While Alva is the joint-Opposition candidate of 17 parties, including the Congress party, she does not have support of the crucial Opposition party Trinamool Congress, which decided to abstain from voting in the vice presidential election alleging lack of consulations whilde deciding Alva's name. Cracks in the Opposition camps were further visible as Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) announced its support to Dhankhar.

Alva is a Congress veteran. Dhankhar is a Jat leader from Rajasthan with socialist background.

How is a vice president elected?

The Vice President of India is elected by an eletoral college through the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The voting is held by secret ballot.

The electoral college in the vice presidential election comprises a total of 788 members of both Houses of Parliament. Since all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of vote of each MP would be the same — one, the Election Commission (EC) has said.

The voting will be held from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday. The ballots will be counted immediately after that. By late Saturday evening, the returning officer will announce the name of the next vice president.

The term of incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10. The vice president is also the chairperson of Rajya Sabha.

There is no concept of open voting in this election and showing the ballot to anyone under any circumstances in the case of presidential and vice-presidential elections is totally prohibited, the EC has cautioned, adding that parties cannot issue whip to its MPs in the matter of voting. 

Who is Jagdeep Dhankhar, BJP-led NDA's candidate?

Jagdeep Dhankhar was the Governor of West Bengal at the time his candidature was announced. He resigned shortly after the announcement.

Dhankhar is a Senior Advocate, a former MLA, MP, and a union minister. He entered politics in 1989 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan that same year and became a Union minister in 1990. He was also a member of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha during 1993-98 representing Kishangarh constituency.

Dhankhar joined the Congress when PV Narsimha Rao became the prime minister and Devi Lal was no more that effective. But with the rise of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan politics, he shifted to the BJP and is said to have become close to Vasundhara Raje soon after. 

The BJP has projected Dhankhar as a 'kisan putra' [farmer's son]. He belongs to the Jat community. The BJP has faced ire both from both the farmers and Jats — many of whom are land-holding farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana. This was visible during the year-long farmers' protests.

Who is Margaret Alva, joint Opposition candidate?

Margaret Alva is a veteran Congress leader, a former governor, a former Union minister, and a five-time Member of Parliament. 

Alva is a lawyer by training. Besides electoral politics, she has been associated with trade unions. She joined politics in 1969. In 1974, she was elected to the Rajya Sabha. It would be her first of the four terms in Rajya Sabha. Her fifth term as an MP would be in the Lok Sabha in 1999.

In 1984, Alva was appointed Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs. She later moved to the Ministry of Human Resource Development in charge of Youth Affairs and Sports, Women and Child Development. In 1991, she was appointed as the Union Minister of State for Personnel, Pensions, Public Grievances and Administrative Reforms. She also briefly served as Minister for Science and Technology.

After servind as the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee during 2004-09, Alva was made the Governor Uttarakhand by the then-Congress government. She later served as the Governors of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Goa.

(With PTI inputs)