New Delhi : Polling for election to the office of President of India, which is the highest elective office in the country, concluded successfully in free, fair and transparent manner at the Parliament House today and in each of the 30 places of poll in State Legislative Assemblies including Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry. The Election to the office of President of lndian Republic is one of the most important elections, which the Election Commission of India conducts vide the mandate of Article 324 of the Constitution of lndia. There were two contesting candidates namely, Shrimati Droupadi Murmu and Shri Yashwant Sinha for the 16th Presidential election. Polling was held between 10am to 5 pm at the 31 locations.
As per Article 54 of the Constitution, the President of India is elected by the Members of an Electoral College consisting of (a) the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and (b) the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States [including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry]. The Members nominated to either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States, including NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College.
Under Rule 40 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, the Election Commission of India is required to maintain a list of members of the Electoral College. The list contains the names of elected members of the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of States, NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry, in that order. Two members namely, Sh. Anant Kumar Singh and Sh. Mahendra Hari Dalvi were not eligible to vote in the election today, owing to disqualification under Section 8 of R.P. Act, 1951 subsequent to judgement of competent Court. Further, there are 05 vacancies in Rajya Sabha and 06 vacancies in State Legislative Assemblies. Therefore, there were a total of 4796 electors in the list of Electoral College for this Presidential Election to participate in the election.
Room No. 63 in the Parliament House in New Delhi and another 30 polling stations in all State Legislative Assembly Secretariats [including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry] were fixed as places of poll. The Members of Parliament voted in New Delhi and the members of the State Legislative Assemblies, including the members of the Legislative Assemblies of NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, voted at the place fixed in each Legislative Assembly. However, facilities were also provided by the Commission for any Member of Parliament/Member of Legislative Assembly to vote at a place of poll setup other than their own. Accordingly, 44 MPs were permitted to vote at State Headquarters, 09 MLAs at Parliament House and 02 MLAs in other State Headquarters.
As per reports being received, out of a total of 771 Members of Parliament entitled to vote (05 vacant) and similarly out of total 4025 Members of the Legislative Assemblies entitled to vote (06 vacant and 02 disqualified), over 99% cast their votes today. However 100% voting by MLAs was reported from Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu.
Some of the salient features implemented to ensure secrecy of voting and free and fair election, are as under:
· Unique Serial Numbered pens of violet ink were supplied centrally by Election Commission so as to ensure that no other instrument is used by the voter for marking of preference of vote.
· Special posters on use of special pens and Do’s & Don’ts for electors for casting of vote were provided by ECI for displaying at prominent places outside the polling stations.
· Various What’s App groups were created for RO/AROs/CEOs/ECI Officers, ECI Observers, Security persons, etc. and extensively used to closely monitor and coordinate the activities with State Headquarters, Parliament and Election Commission of India.
· Observers were deputed at all places of poll setup in States/UTs as well as in Parliament to keep a watch on poll process as well as any irregularities occurred during the poll process.
· 02 Observers are also deployed for the counting process at Parliament House.
The new features introduced for the 16th Presidential Election, 2022 included:
• Facilitation for Covid19 positive electors – The Commission allowed the electors who are Covid-19 positive to cast vote in the last hour of polling or after all the non-Covid electors have cast their vote by following all the extant Covid guidelines/instructions issued from time to time by the National Disaster Management Authority/ respective State Disaster Management Authority. Two COVID-19 positive electors cast their vote at Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and one COVID -19 positive Member of Parliament chose to cast his vote at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
• This time the Commission directed the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers concerned to ensure use of eco-friendly and biodegradable material and eliminate the use of prohibited plastic/materials as per extant instructions of Government of India.
Green polling station set up in Meghalaya
According to Article 55 (3) of the Constitution, the election to the Office of President of India is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election is by secret ballot. The Constitution (Eighty-fourth) Amendment Act, 2001 provides that until the relevant population figures for the first census to be taken after the year 2026 have been published, the population of the States for the purposes of calculation of value of votes for the Presidential Election shall mean the population as ascertained at the 1971-census.
Foolproof security arrangements were made to ensure safe custody & hassle free transportation of empty ballot boxes from ECI to States on 12th & 13th July, 2022. Similar transportation arrangements for the State teams have been made to bring back the 30 polled ballot boxes. All the ballot boxes and other election materials would reach the Parliament House i.e. place of Counting, by 19th July 2022. The counting of votes will be taken up on July 21, 2022 at 1100 Hrs.