Lawmakers across the nation will vote on Monday to elect the 15 th President of India. Although the counting of votes is to take place on July 21, NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu has a clear edge over the Opposition’s candidate, Yashwant Sinha.

The NDA nominee now has over 6.67 lakh votes after the support from various regional parties, out of a total of 10,86,431 votes. The new President will take oath on July 25, a day after the term of the incumbent, Ram Nath Kovind, comes to an end.

This is the 16 th election (first President Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected twice) for the nation’s top post where nearly 4,800 electorates comprising Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) cast their preference. These voters include 543 MPs of Lok Sabha, 228 MPs of Rajya Sabha and 4,026 MLAs of State/UT Assemblies. Nominated MPs and MLAs, and members of legislative councils are not entitled to vote in this election.

The voting will take place in the Parliament and respective Assemblies. Once the polling is over, ballot boxes from all over the country will be transported to New Delhi as a passenger (Mr Ballot Box) in the front row of an aircraft.

The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. This means every elector can mark as many preferences, as there are candidates contesting the election. These preferences are to be made by placing the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, against the names of the candidates, in the order of preference, in the space provided in column 2 of the ballot paper. This is the reason why electronic voting machines are not used in this as well as in vice-presidential, Rajya Sabha and legislative council polls.

According to Election Commission’s directions, while MPs will get a green-coloured ballot paper, the MLAs will get a pink ballot paper to cast votes. Separate colours help the returning officer ascertain the value of vote of each MLA and MP. The EC has issued a specially designed pen with violet ink to enable voters mark their ballot papers in the presidential poll.

The system of secret ballot is followed in polling and parties cannot issue whip to their MPs and MLAs with regard to voting. The value of the vote of MP has gone down to 700 from 708 in this presidential poll due to the absence of a Legislative Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir. The value of vote of an MLA varies in different States. In Uttar Pradesh, the value of vote of each MLA stands at 208, followed by 176 in Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. In Maharashtra, it is 175. In Sikkim, the value of vote per MLA is seven, while it is nine in Nagaland and eight in Mizoram. All the values are added to see which candidate has got how many votes.

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