India's elected MLAs and MPs both in Parliament and state assemblies voted on Monday to elect the country's next president in an election which had two veteran leaders pitted against each other.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee, 71-year-old Ram Nath Kovind, is expected to win the polls, described by his rival, opposition candidate Meira Kumar, as a battle of ideologies. President Pranab Mukherjee's tenure ends on July 24. It will be only the second time that India has had a Dalit head of state.
The electoral college of the presidential election comprises 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs with a total vote value of 10,98,903 -- 549,408 for 543 Lok Sabha and 233 Rajya Sabha parliamentarians, and 549,495 for 4,120 legislators in state assemblies.
The halfway mark is expected to be 549,442, but that will depend on the number of valid votes.
Kovind is expected to garner more than 70 per cent of the votes as the NDA enjoys a brute majority in the Lok Sabha and in also 17 states.
PM Modi before casting his vote in the morning said, "The presidential poll this time is historic. Probably for the first time no party has made any undignified or unwarranted comment on the rival candidate."
Meira Kumar, the daughter of freedom fighter Jagjivan Ram, was a diplomat before entering politics in 1985 and became India's first woman speaker in 2009.
Her nomination, which followed Kovind's, was seen by many as the opposition's attempt to counter Modi's move to woo dalits.
Meanwhile, Counting will be held on July 20 at 11 am.
Here are the Highlights of the day:
05:00 pm: Voting across the state assemblies and parliament ended.
04:48 pm: Arunachal Pradesh MLAs cast vote in prez poll
The legislators of Arunachal Pradesh Assembly cast their votes to elect the next president of the country. Of the total 59 members in a house of 60, 58 exercised their franchise.
04:47 pm: Thirty four legislators in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly voted for the presidential election till 1.30pm.
04:42 pm: The 81 MLAs of Jharkhand Assembly cast their votes to elect the 14th president of the country
04:00 pm: Voting in Rajasthan assembly ends
As many as 199 of the 200 Rajasthan assembly members have cast their votes in the Presidential election on Monday, official sources said. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has 161 members and the Congress 24 in the 200-member assembly.
03:36 pm: Presidential Poll ends in Tamil Nadu
AIADMK leader and former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam says he hopes the issues plaguing Tamil Nadu be resolved after the presidential election.
03:15 pm: A rebel Congress legislator and six sacked Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs voted for NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.
03:05 pm: Karnataka CM Siddaramaih cast his vote in Karnataka Assembly
03:00 pm: "We (TMC) are voting for Meira Kumar as it is a vote against the atrocities of the BJP. The BJP desperately wants numbers but we are pro-people," says Mamata Banerjee.
02:55 pm: 100% polling recorded in voting for Presidential Polls in Himachal with all 67 MLAs casting their vote
02:26 pm: "The rumours that NCP MPs and MLAs are voting for Ram Nath Kovind are false. We are voting for our candidate," NCP national spokesperson, Nawab Malik. "We were with Meira Kumar during her selection process and filing of nomination,'' he added.
02:21 pm: Voting for the presidential election began at the Goa secretariat at Porvorim with chief minister Manohar Parrikar among those to cast vote in the first one hour.
02:03 pm: Telangana CM KC Rao casts his vote in Hyderabad
01:40 pm: By voting for Ram Nath Kovind, we've registered our protest against the crimes committed by CPI (M), Congress and TMC, said TMC's Ashish Saha when questioned about cross voting.
01:34 pm: Former minister and SP legislator Shivpal Yadav arrives at the Uttar Pradesh asembly to cast his vote. "I will vote for Ramnath Kovind. And more and more SP voters should vote for Kovind," he had said before leaving for casting his vote.
01:32 pm: 214 votes have been cast till noon at UP Vidhan Bhavan.
01:12 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cast his vote at the Delhi Legislative Assembly
01:11 pm: Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani casted his vote at Swarnim Sankul-2 in Gandhinagar today
01:06 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh casts his vote
01:04 pm: "This is a historic day. We have not compromised on our beliefs. They are thinking about cross voting because the NDA is scared that it will get less votes. We don't believe in negative politics," says Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
12:49 pm: Two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislators on Monday briefly stepped out of jails to vote in the Presidential election. They are former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramesh Kadam, both currently in custody for various corruption offences.
12:45 pm: The CPI (M), which is backing Meira Kumar, urged voters, comprising MPs and MLAs, to pick the 'custodian of the Constitution' thoughtfully. "Hope the Electoral College picks the custodian of India's Constitution thoughtfully: Vote to uphold Constitutional Values of our Republic," party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Twitter.
12:44 pm: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat casts his vote
12:25 pm: Fighting battle of ideologies,had urged collegium to listen to voice of their conscience & decision will be taken in India's favor, says Meira Kumar
12:24 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis casts his vote at Maharashtra Legislative
12:13 pm: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi cast their vote in Lok Sabha
12:10 pm: Odisha CM Naveen Biju Patnaik casts his vote at Odisha Assembly
11:50 am: Kovind is our neighbour; Akhilesh didn't consult us over prez poll, says Shivpal Yadav
11:42 am: Rift in SP over Presidential Polls Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav vote for Kovind
11:41 am: NCP's Praful Patel claims that all MLAs and MPs of the party have voted for opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the Presidential Elections 2017.
11:40 am: Election to President of India is a fight for 'idea of India', our ideology & thought, says Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala
Election to President of India is a fight for 'idea of India', our ideology & thought. My statement-: pic.twitter.com/dNItuIIHrw— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 17, 2017
11:23 am: Andhra Pradesh CM N.Chandrababu Naidu cast his vote in Amaravati. The TDP has supported the BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
11:10 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan casts his vote at the Madhya Pradesh Assembly
11:05 am: Seems NDA Pres candidate will come through. Happy that vast majority of votes from WB will go to MeiraKumar: S Chatterjee, Former LS Speaker
11:04 am: NCP breaks ranks with Opposition; says NDA candidate will win
11:03 am: At least half-a-dozen TMC MPs set to cross vote: Sources
11:02 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan arrives at MP Assembly to cast his vote
10:53 am: Voting underway at Assam Legislative Assembly; CM Sarbananda Sonowal also cast his vote.
10:46 am: TMC divide out in open, party pulling in two directions, 6 TMC MLAs to cross vote
10:45 am: DMK working president MK Stalin casts his vote at Tamil Nadu Assembly
10:40 am: UP CM Yogi Adityanath says there is no doubt that Ram Nath Kovind will win Presidential Election
10:35 am: Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje casts her vote in Rajasthan Assembly
10:34 am: Jailed MLAs Chhagan Bhujbal & Ramesh Kadam will be brought to Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from prison for voting Presidential Election
10:33 am: BJP President Amit Shah cast his vote at the Parliament
10:31 am: PM Modi cast his vote at the Parliament
10:28 am: Lucknow: UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath arrives at UP Assembly
10:27 am: No matter who wins, President will be from Scheduled Caste. Huge victory for our movement & party, says BSP Pres Mayawati
10:21 am: Members of Parliament line up to cast their votes for Presidential Poll 2017
10:20 am: PM Narendra Modi & BJP President Amit Shah cast their votes at the Parliament for Presidential Poll 2017
10:16 am: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami casts his vote during the Presidential Elections 2017
10:15 am: "We (the opposition) are meeting again to finalise strategy and address issues," said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
10:04 am: BJP President Amit Shah arrives at the Parliament
09:53 am: Preparations underway at Karnataka Legislative Assembly ahead of the Presidential Election
09:38 am: Ram Nath Kovind ji will win with a comfortable & respectable margin, says Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Presidential Poll 2017.
09:32 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to cast their votes at 10 am in the Parliament
08:55 am: Rehearsal by the President's Bodyguard for the swearing-in ceremony of the new President at Delhi's Vijay Chowk
08:51 am: BJP supporters perform 'hawan' for NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind's victory in Varanasi
08:32 am: Opposition leaders are set to meet at 10 am today in the Parliament before voting for the next President of India.
Few interesting facts:
- The electoral College which elects the president constitutes 4,896 legislators.
- Of the 4,896 legislators, 776 are Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members and 4,120 MLAs.
- All MPs have an equal vote value of 708.
- The vote value of MLAs depends on the population of the state.
- The presidential polls has a total of 11,04,546 votes.