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Race To Succeed President Kovind Begins

By R RAJAGOPALAN
June 02, 2022 17:03 IST
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Insiders say President Kovind has been told he will not be re-nominated, reveals R Rajagopalan.

IMAGE: President Ram Nath Kovind with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan, May 31, 2022. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

The Presidential election is likely to be held on July 18, a Monday, according to highly placed sources.

The Election Commission of India has kept two possible dates aside for the quinquennial event, and is ascertaining the availability of polling stations and other protocols with Parliament officials.

In all probability the Election Commission will freeze July 18 for the Presidential election. The next President of the Republic will have to be sworn in on July 25, 2022 as current President Ram Nath Kovind's term ends on July 24.

In New Delhi, it is speculated that the Election Commission's announcement on the Presidential election schedule will be made by June 10 when Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is expected to announce the full poll schedule at Vigyan Bhavan.

Before that, the Election Commission will informally alert the Union ministries of home affairs and legal affairs about the possible schedule.

Rajya Sabha Secretary-General Pramod Chandra Mody will be appointed as the chief returning officer for the Presidential election, and senior Election Commission officials have begun the process of correspondence with the secretariats of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Apart from the flurry of administrative activities in Nirvachan Sadan, the Election Commission headquarters, behind-the-scenes political developments are taking place in the prime minister's office.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi on Monday, May 30. While Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal is not part of the National Democratic Alliance, the BJD may not be opposed to the NDA's Presidential nominee.

On Tuesday, May 31, Modi met with President Kovind. Insiders say Kovind has been told informally that he will not be re-nominated. This message was conveyed by Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah last week.

Ahead of the Presidential poll, the Modi government may announce the appointment of the third election commissioner. As of now, there are only two members of the Election Commission -- Rajeev Kumar and Anup Pandey -- one less than the full bench.

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R RAJAGOPALAN in New Delhi
 
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