Almost 100% voting to elect next Vice President (Fourth Lead)

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New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Election to choose the next Vice President on Saturday saw almost 100 per cent voting with 771 members casting their votes out of the 785 members of the electoral college.

The voting percentage was 98.21 per cent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues and opposition leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi cast their votes to elect the country’s 13th Vice President.

The voting, which began at 10 a.m, saw 771 members casting their votes till 5 p.m., Assistant Returning Officer Mukul Pandey told reporters at Parliament House.

The counting will begin at 6 p.m. and the results announced later on Saturday.

NDA candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu is contesting against Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Naidu, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha, left his house around 9.30 a.m. and voted at around 10 a.m. He was accompanied by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and other BJP leaders.

Besides BJP veteran L.K. Advani, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya also cast their votes.

Union Minister Vijay Goel, former Union Minister Sanwar Lal Jat and Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh Bhushan Lal Jangde were among the 14 members who could not turn up for the voting. Jat is under treatment at AIIMS.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi exchanged greetings with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders when he reached the voting centre.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi was accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, party leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and other opposition leaders.

Nominated Rajya Sabha members actress Rekha and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also voted. Rekha was seen exchanging greetings with SP leader Dimple Yadav, the wife of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

With numbers in his favour, Naidu is all set to become the next Vice President.

Naidu expressed confidence on Saturday that most of the parties will vote for him.

The Lok Sabha currently has 544 members and the Rajya Sabha 244. The Lok Sabha has two vacancies, while the Rajya Sabha has one vacancy.

BJP officials said that apart from the NDA’s 81 Rajya Sabha members and 338 Lok Sabha members, members of both Houses — of the AIADMK (50), YSR Congress (10) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (14), would vote in favour of Naidu.

With around support of 493 members, Naidu is all set to cross the magic figure of 394. However, BJP leaders are hopeful of crossing the 500 mark.

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former West Bengal Governor and a diplomat, has support of the Congress, the Left parties, Nationalist Congress Party, DMK, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and National Conference.

Janata Dal-United, which is now a part of NDA, had announced support for Gandhi.

–IANS

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