NEW DELHI: The race for the vice presidential poll has started as Election Commission on Thursday announced that the election for the post of Vice-President will be held on August 5 and results will also be declared on the same day.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said notification for the election will be issued on July 4 and nominations can be submitted by July 18. The scrutiny will take place on July 19 and the last date for withdrawing from the electoral battle is July 21, he added.
In the vice presidential election, a candidate requires 20 proposers and 20 seconders who should be members of Parliament. The ruling NDA has an edge as it has a majority in the Lok Sabha and has received the support of parties such as AIADMK and BJD in the Presidential polls.
Zaidi said that Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice and no whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot.
The term of the present incumbent Hamid Ansari, who has held the post for two consecutive terms, is coming to an end on August 10. The electoral college which elects the vice president, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, consists of elected and nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA led by BJP, has 338 members. In the 243-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP as of now has 56 members, while the Congress with 59 is the single largest party. With its recent wins in the recent assembly polls, the BJP is set to emerge as the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha too next year and the NDA's tally would be close to 100.
Meanwhile, the poll panel defended its decision to seek powers to initiate contempt proceedings against political parties which level allegations against it without evidence, saying it was the best way to defend itself against unfounded claims.
“It is not a question of seeking power to punish somebody for the Contempt of Court Act. It is a question of leveling unfounded allegations. ...We can go for defamation which we do not want. We do not want to move court as a complainant,” Zaidi said while announcing the schedule.
Zaidi was asked why the Commission wrote to the government seeking powers to initiate contempt proceedings against those who have questioned the neutrality of the body.
The EC had in April written a letter to the Law Ministry, urging it to amend the election laws so that it can use the Contempt of Court Act against such parties.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal had questioned the independence of Election Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat.
Responding to a question on the office of profit case against 20 AAP MLAs, Zaidi said the Commission will decide on the next date of hearing soon. The EC had earlier said it will continue hearing a plea against the party's nearly two dozen MLAs for allegedly holding the office of profit, despite the Delhi High Court setting aside their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.
Zaidi also said the Commission will decide on the issue of the AIADMK's symbol war after going through the documents filed by the rival factions.