In New Delhi, the polling was taking place at Room No. 63 of the Parliament House while in the state capitals, the voting arrangements were being made at the assembly buildings. The voting will continue till 5 pm. The counting will take place on Sunday, Jul 22. The incumbent President Pratibha Patil's tenure ends on Jul 25.
The run-up to this year's presidential election saw much drama and fissures unfolding within all the major alliances, the UPA, NDA and the Left Front. The UPA has fielded former Finance Minister and veteran Congress leader from West Bengal Pranab Mukherjee while Former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP leader PA Sangma is being backed by the BJP and few other parties.
Mukherjee, with the support of the UPA including the Trinamool Congress which was initially reluctant to back him, two NDA parties namely-JD(U) and Shiv Sena, the SP, the BSP and also Left parties like the CPI(M) and Forward Bloc, clearly looks a favourite to win it against Sangma. His competitor is backed by the BJP, BJD, AIADMK and SAD. The presidential poll is a secret-ballot affair.
The total vote value in the presidential poll is 10.98 lakh and the winning candidate has to get 5,48,507 vote value. One MP's vote represents 708 people while the value of a MLA's vote depends on the population of his state. Pranab Mukherjee looks to garner 66.7 per cent of the votes while Sangma 30.3 per cent. Three percent of the vote is undecided for parties like the TDP, TRS, CPI and some others have decided to abstain from the polling.
RJD meeting in Patna
Meanwhile, the RJD Legislative Party met in Patna on Jul 18 evening and decided that 22 of its MLAs would cast first preferential vote for Pranab on Thursday. Following the meeting which was presided over by RJD leader Rabri Devi, Leader of the Opposition Abdul Bari Siddique said the MLAs were instructed not to give second preference vote to any other candidate. The meeting was attended by 20 MLAs except Ramanand Yadav and Lalit Yadav who said to have taken prior permission to skip it. Siddique asked all MLAs to ensure Pranab's victory.
(With PTI inputs)