Polling to elect the 13th Vice-President of the country will be held on August 10. The term of the incumbent Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, a nominee for the presidential polls, expires on August 18.
According to poll schedule announced by the Election Commission in New Delhi on Thursday, the notification for the election will be issued on July 9. The last date for filing nominations is July 23 while scrutiny of the nomination papers will take place on July 24. The last date of withdrawal is July 26 and the counting of votes will take place on the polling day itself.
Members of both the Houses of Parliament, including the nominated ones, have the right to vote in the vice-presidential poll. The total strength of the MPs is 790 including 543 Lok Sabha and 233 from the Rajya Sabha. There are 12 nominated members in the upper house and two in the Lok Sabha.
The nomination papers of a vice-presidential candidate shall have 20 proposers and an equal number as seconders. Both the proposers and the seconders should be from among the electorates.
The vice-presidential election is being held in the backdrop of the already intensified campaign for the presidential poll to be held on July 19 in which Shekhawat is locked in a straight fight with UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil. Shekhawat is contesting the election as an Independent backed by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
The rival political groupings, particularly the ruling UPA and its supporting parties, which are already slugging it out on the presidential poll front have once again been heralded into action to select their nominees for the Vice-President’s post.
Responding to queries by a delegation of women journalists about the UPA-Left nominee for the vice-presidential election in New Delhi on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said : "It is too premature for me to say anything. The UPA-Left coordination committee will meet soon to discuss the issue." He had responded on being asked whether the candidate will belong to the Congress, allies or the Left grouping.
The CPI has already made it clear that the candidate should be from outside the Congress. In his recent statements CPI General Secretary had mooted this idea. However, the final view of the Left parties will be formulated once its main constituent CPM clears its stand on the issue.
On its part, the Congress has taken a strong exception to the BJP leadership "denigrating" the electoral process for the "high office" of President. Senior party leader Devendra Dwivedi appealed to former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Shekhwat to "restrain the lowly tactics and irresponsible utterances of the BJP spokespersons to uphold the dignity of the constitutional process".
Coming openly in support of Shekhawat, Panthers Party, with four MLAs in J&K assembly, has asked the Congress-Left nominee Pratibha Patil to withdraw from the contest in the face allegations being leveled against her on various counts. In a letter written to Patil, the party chief Bhim Singh asked her to retire from the competition as it will bring her "glory and respect".