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India's 15th President set to be elected today

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Indias 15th President set to be elected today
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National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu and Opposition's joint pick Yashwant Sinha – the two candidates in the race for the Rashtrapati Bhavan – will go head-to-head today as more than 4,000 MPs and MLAs will cast their votes to elect the 15th President of India.

The polling will take place between 10 am and 5 pm in Parliament House and state legislative assemblies. The counting of votes will take place on July 21 while the next President will take oath on July 25.

Droupadi Murmu, 64, was a strong contender for the country's highest office before the 2017 presidential elections, till then Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, was named as the government's choice for the post.

The NDA choice of Murmu - a tribal woman from Odisha and a former Jharkhand Governor - is seen as a calculated move, drawing the support not only of Jharkhand's ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, but also Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, seen as a fence-sitter.

Murmu has also been assured of support by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who lately is seldom on the same page as ally BJP.

While the Eknath Shinde faction, allied with the BJP, was supporting the NDA candidate, the faction led by Uddhav Thackeray is also supporting her.

The Thackeray faction, which was supporting Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha decided to switch after 16 MPs met Uddhav Thackeray and suggested that they should vote for Murmu, a tribal woman. Sinha has claimed that Thackeray has been arm-twisted into supporting Murmu.

The opposition settled on Sinha - a former Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government who later joined Trinamool Congress - after three proposed candidates said no.

National Congress chief Sharad Pawar, former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had all declined, citing various reasons.

The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College, comprising elected members of both houses of Parliament and legislative assemblies of all states as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

No party whip can be issued for the voting and the MPs and MLAs can vote as they please.


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TAGS:Droupadi Murmu Yashwant Sinha President Kovind 
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