INDIA. Mumbai: With numbers stacked heavily in his favour and the divided Opposition, NDA’s Jagdeep Dhankhar (71), pitted against UPA’s Margaret Alva (80) (Congress), is sure to win the Vice-Presidential poll 2022 scheduled to be held on Saturday.
The polling will be held from 10 am to 5 pm in Parliament House, and the ballots will be counted immediately after that. The returning officer will announce the name of the next vice-president by late Saturday evening.
Since all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of each MP’s vote is the same. Unlike the presidential election, which is held in multiple locations because elected MLAs (who are not nominated) are also part of the electoral college, the vice presidential election will be held only in Parliament House.
The next Vice President will take the oath of office on August 11, a day after the current Vice President P M Venkaiah Naidu’s term expires. The Vice President will be chosen by an Electoral College comprising of 233 elected Rajya Sabha members, 12 nominated Rajya Sabha members, and 543 elected Lok Sabha members, totalling 788 members.
In the system of proportional representation using the single transferable vote, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates. There are currently eight vacancies in the Rajya Sabha. Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
In the electoral college, the BJP has 394 votes on its own. The NDA has over 515 votes with allies and supporting parties. In comparison, the opposition has nearly 200 votes. Cross-voting by 17 MPs in the Presidential election was mostly in Murmu’s favour. It remains to be seen whether the opposition will be hit by cross-voting. The Trinamool Congress (TMC), the second largest Opposition party in Parliament after the Congress (23 Lok Sabha MPs and 16 Rajya Sabha MPs), has decided to abstain from voting.
The Janata Dal (United), AIADMK, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have decided to back Dhankhar. Similarly, the YSRCP and BJD have agreed to back him with a combined tally of 52 votes.
These two parties had also backed the NDA nominee in the Presidential election. 12 Lok Sabha members from the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena will vote in favour of Jagdeep Dhankhar.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi(TRS), The All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MiM), and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have announced their support for Alva. The Shiv Sena’s remaining 7 Lok Sabha and 02 Rajya Sabha members also support her.
The JMM, ruling Jharkhand in alliance with the Congress, had supported the NDA’s candidate, Draupadi Murmu, in the Presidential election, who became the first tribal to become the President of India.
Jagdeep Dhankhar, a lawyer, politician, and the former Governor of West Bengal, had frequent run-ins with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After being appointed the Governor in July 2019, he called out the TMC government multiple times over its policies. In turn, Banerjee wrote to Delhi many times, demanding his recall.
Born in a farmer’s family in Kithana village in Rajasthan, Jagdeep Dhankhar was an advocate in the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court. After joining politics in 1990, he was part of Congress when PV Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister. He shifted to the BJP with the rise of Ashok Gehlot. The selection of the Jat Rajasthan leader is also expected to help the BJP in the next year’s Assembly election in the Congress-ruled state.
Margaret Alva was born in Mangalore in Karnataka on April 14, 1942. Like Jagdeep Dhankhar, she too practiced law before her foray into active politics. She was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1974 as a representative of Congress.
Alva, a five-term Member of Parliament, has held the Parliamentary Affairs and Youth Affairs portfolios in the Central Cabinet. She has served as Goa’s 17th Governor, Gujarat’s 23rd Governor, Rajasthan’s 20th Governor, and Uttarakhand’s fourth Governor.
By all means, the election will be symbolic, offering almost a walkover to Jagdeep Dhankhar.