Today on 17th July, the leaders of our nation will cast their vote to elect the country’s 14thPresident. Dr Pranab Mukherjee, our 13th President and statesman of the highest calibre will complete his tenure on 22nd.
Any Indian national over 35 years of age with the support of 50 MPs or MLAs can forward his/her name for nomination. The individual must not hold any Office of Profit. The contenders for this election are Shri Ramnath Kovind, Governor of Bihar, and Smt Meira Kumar, former speaker of the Lok Sabha.
As we all know, the President is not elected by a nationwide poll, he/she is elected by people’s representatives, i.e. Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies of all states.
Voting is top secret as the intention behind this is that it needs to be a free and fair election. Unlike the voting for any Bill or any motion in Parliament or state Assembly, nobody can know who voted for whom in the Presidential election.
In the conventional ballot voting the voter polls only for a single candidate of his/her choice, but in the Presidential election the lawmakers mark their preferences. For example, if three candidates A, B, and C, are nominated, then an elected lawmaker will vote according to his/her preference making the most preferred candidate as the top choice and subsequently for the rest of the candidates. It is mandatory for every lawmaker to mark his/her first preference, else the vote is deemed invalid. However one can leave other preferences vacant. (source – Article in the Financial Express)
Interestingly, according to an article in The Better India, for this election, special violet-ink pens have been introduced for the electors to mark their votes. Renowned producer of indelible ink, Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd, has supplied these pens.
These pens are provided to avoid a guffaw that was made in 2016 when the votes of 12 legislators were declared invalid during the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, as they had used a different pen other than the one provided by the official polling staff.
As our nation waits to see who the new Commander-in-Chief will be, we in our promise, pledge to consciously walk on the path of service, values and citizenship.