UPA candidate Hamid Ansari was on Tuesday re-elected India's Vice President, defeating NDA nominee Jaswant Singh.
Lok Sabha secretary general TK Vishwanathan, the returning officer for the poll, made the announcement about Ansari's re-election minutes after the counting ended on Tuesday
evening at Parliament House.
Ansari polled 490 first preference votes out of 728 valid votes cast in the election. Jaswant Singh polled 238 votes.
Polling in the vice presidential election was held earlier in the day.
Vishwanathan said that 787 members were eligible to cast vote and 736 exercised their franchise. Eight votes were found invalid.
He said that Ansari needed 365 votes to be declared elected.
“Therefore, Mr. Ansari is duly elected as vice president of India,” Vishwanathan announced.
Ansari, who sought re-election for a second term, was backed by the Congress, most other parties of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, those supporting the alliance from outside and some Left parties.
Jaswant Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and a former minister, had the backing of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as well as the AIADMK.
The vice president is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of members of both houses of parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
Nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are also entitled to take part in the election.
47 out of the total 787 MPs in both Houses did not cast their votes, who include ailing Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who is admitted in a Chennai Hospital.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said 21 members from BJD, 11 from TDP, 6 from Congress and supporting parties, including Deshmukh, and two nominated members did not cast their votes.
BJP members Shatrughan Sinha was sick while Dilip Singh Judev could not come as his mother was not well. Trinamool Congress members Kakoli Dastidar and Kabir Suman were abroad. So was SP member Brij Bhushan Singh.
Out of the total 790 members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that form the electoral college for Vice Presidential election, 3 are vacant with Pranab Mukherjee becoming President, Vijay Bahuguna Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and the election of BJP MP J Shanta having been set aside by a high court.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and BJP leader LK Advani were among the members from both houses of Parliament who voted Tuesday to elect India's 14th vice president.
75-year-old Ansari, whose candidature has been supported by Left parties and UPA allies like SP and BSP, appears set to fend off the contest put up by NDA nominee Jaswant Singh.
BJD, TDP and RSP had declared that they would abstain from voting. Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is ill and admitted to a Chennai hospital. The three parties together have 34 members in both Houses of Parliament.
With the total number of voting members reduced to 752, the halfway mark for Ansari has become 377. UPA managers claim to have the declared support of nearly 500 members.
BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Murli Manohar Joshi, BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had cast their ballots before noon.
It began at 10:00am and continued till 5:00pm. The counting of votes took place at 6:00pm and results declared at around 7:30pm.
A career diplomat and scholar, 75-year-old Ansari appears set to get a second term as Vice President by emerging a clear winner in a direct contest with veteran BJP leader Singh, a former finance, defence and foreign minister of the country.
Ansari is the second person after philosopher and statesman S Radhakrishnan to hold the high office twice.
A file photo of vice presidential candidate Mohammad Hamid Ansari in New Delhi. Reuters Photo
UPA managers were confident that 75-year-old Ansari was set to get at least 500 votes in a contest in which Ansari had a definite edge as far as the arithmetic is concerned.
Congress itself has 204 members in Lok Sabha and 71 in Rajya Sabha. UPA constituents Trinamool Congress has 19 MPs in Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha, DMK has 18 members in Lok Sabha and 7 in Rajya Sabha, NCP 9 in Lok Sabha and 7 in Rajya Sabha and RLD has 5 in Lok Sabha. National Conference has 3 in Lok Sabha and 2 in Rajya Sabha.
Besides, SP with its 22 members in Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha and BSP with its 21 in Lok Sabha and 15 in Rajya Sabha were backing Ansari who was also being backed by the entire Left block with 38 members in both Houses of Parliament.
Unlike the Presidential poll held in July, which had split NDA with JD-U and Shiv Sena breaking ranks to vote for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee, Jaswant Singh has the backing of a united NDA for his vice presidential bid.
A file photo of Jaswant Singh speaking to the media after filing his nomination papers at Parliament in New Delhi. AFP/Raveendran
BJP has 114 members in Lok Sabha and 49 in Rajya Sabha, JD-U 20 and 9, Shiv Sena 11 and 4 and SAD 4 and 3.
While AIADMK, which has 14 MPs in Parliament, on Monday announced its support to Singh's candidature, BJD with 18 members in Lok Sabha and 7 in the Rajya Sabha has decided to abstain from voting.
Ahead of the poll, UPA chaiperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday hosted a lunch for UPA constituents and the parties supporting it from outside, which projected a complete picture of unity.
Trinamool Congress MPs attended Gandhi's lunch and the party is expected to go public with its support Ansari ahead of the polls.
Not only all UPA constituents but also the chiefs of Samajwadi Party and BSP Mualyam Singh Yadav and Mayawati attended the lunch.
The two leaders, arch rival in Uttar Pradesh politics, had not attended any such programme together for several years.
At the AICC headquarters, party general secretary Digvijay Singh held interactions with several MPs, especially those from UP, to ensure voting is done properly during the Vice Presidential poll and no vote goes waste. The balloting will take place from 10 am to 5 pm.
A total of 42 papers were filed by 31 candidates during the 14-day nomination process, of which four sets of papers submitted by Ansari and three sets submitted by Singh were accepted. The nomination papers of 29 others were rejected on various grounds.
Though the numbers are stacked highly against Singh, BJP is making all efforts to put up a respectable fight.
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Monday extended AIADMK's support to Singh, saying she firmly believes that there has to be an opposition in a true democracy.
(With PTI and UNI inputs)
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