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vice-presidential ballots: 85% of deputies vote until 2 p.m.; Modi and Manmohan voted

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More than 85% of votes were cast in the vice-presidential election until 2 p.m., with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh casting their ballots early in the day, officials said.

Of the 780 MPs in both houses – another eight Rajya Sabha seats are vacant – about 670 of them have voted so far, they said.

The Trinamool Congress, which has 39 deputies, including 23 in Lok Sabha, has already announced its decision to abstain from this election.

Jagdeep Dhankhar (71) of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is up against Margaret Alva (80) of the opposition for the post.

Voting to elect India’s next vice president began at 10 a.m., with Modi among the first to do so.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair and needed help getting up and voting. CPM MP John Brittas was among those who helped the veteran leader exercise his candor. The former two-term prime minister greeted those present with clasped hands.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP Chairman JP Nadda, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Commerce Minister and House Leader in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal were among the leaders who showed up early in Parliament.

Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi and former party leader Rahul Gandhi also voted after noon.

Voting will continue until 5 p.m., after which the counting of ballots will take place.

With the ruling BJP having an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and 91 members in the Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar has a clear advantage over his rival. He is expected to succeed incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu, whose term ends on August 10.

All Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, including appointed members, are eligible to vote in the vice-presidential election.

The two Houses of Parliament together have a sanctioned strength of 788 MPs, eight of whom are vacant in the Upper House.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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