Hours Before Vice President Election, 16 NDA Lawmakers Get 'Dummy Vote' Wrong

The "dummy vote" is being organised at a meeting of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), to ensure minimum invalid votes in the Vice-Presidential election today.

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Hours Before Vice President Election, 16 NDA Lawmakers Get 'Dummy Vote' Wrong

Vice President Election: NDA is set to have a Vice-President of its choice after 10 years.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. NDA lawmakers attended workshop last evening on how to vote
  2. Lawmakers cast 21 invalid votes in the July 17 Presidential election
  3. NDA's Vice Presidential nominee Venkiah Naidu spoke to lawmakers
A day before elections for Vice President, lawmakers from the ruling BJP and its allies attended a workshop on how to vote, following it up with a "dummy vote" to ensure minimum invalid votes today. Sources told NDTV that 16 lawmakers - whose votes were found to be invalid despite the lessons - were given a second chance to get it right and cautioned to be careful today.

BJP chief Amit Shah was sad that so many parliamentarians did not vote properly and asked them to be careful today, sources said. All NDA lawmakers have been asked to assemble at Parliament library ahead of voting which begins at 10 am.

Parliamentarians cast 21 invalid votes in the election for President of India last month, most of them BJP lawmakers. This despite their being briefed on the voting procedure. At Friday's meeting of the National Democratic Alliance or NDA, they practised how to vote on ballot paper. At a party meeting this week, Mr Shah had wondered how so many lawmakers could get a simple vote wrong.

Lawmakers from regional parties the AIADMK, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress are also attended the workshop. Though these parties are not members of the NDA, they have pledged support to M Venkaiah Naidu, the government's nominee. 

Before the practice session, Mr Naidu, a former union minister, had also spoken to the lawmakers at Friday's meeting to formally seek their votes. At dinner that followed the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too joined the lawmakers. He is also slated to address them. 

Only members of both Houses of Parliament, including nominated members, vote in the election for Vice President, unlike the Presidential election, where state legislators also vote. Lawmakers from the NDA outnumber the opposition when MPs in both houses are counted and only large-scale wrong voting can play spoiler today for Mr Naidu.

Mr Naidu faces off with former West Bengal governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, fielded by an opposition bloc of 18 parties. The BJP's newest ally, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, will keep an earlier promise to back Mr Gandhi. 

The NDA is set to have a Vice-President of its choice after 10 years. 

The current strength of the NDA is 337 in the Lok Sabha and 80 in the Rajya Sabha. The AIADMK, TRS and YSR Congress add another 67 MPs in both houses. Which means Mr Naidu has the support of 484 of the total 790 MPs in the two houses, apart from that of several nominated members. He needs 395 to win.

With input from agencies

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