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Polling, if necessary, To Be Held On July 17 to Elect India's Next President

NEW DELHI: The polling, if necessary, will be held on July 17 to elect the next President of India. The term of President Pranab Mukherjee, who is 13th in line, comes to an end on July 24. 
Announcing the poll schedule for the Presidential elections, the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that votes will be counted on July 20. The poll process will begin from June 14 with the issue of the notification for the Presidential polls, he said at a press conference which was also attended by Election Commissioners O P S Rawat and A K Jyoti. The last date for the filing of nominations will be June 28 and the scrutiny will be taken up the next day. 
Dr Zaidi said that Lok Sabha Secretary General has been appointed as the returning officer for the election to the country's top post. ''The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central government, appoints the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, by rotation, as the returning officer. Accordingly, the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha will be appointed the returning officer of the present election,'' the CEC  said.
Dr. Zaidi said that political parties cannot issue whip to their member to vote a particular person in the Presidential election.''It is clarified that political parties cannot issue whip in the matter of the Presidential elections,'' he said.
Opposition parties, led by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, have been making efforts to put up a joint candidate. The BJP has kept its cards close to its chest so far with the party chief Amit Shah giving an indication that the ruling party will be holding consultations to elect the next President. After its landslide win in U.P. assembly elections, the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are comfortably placed to get its nominee elected as the new President who would occupy the Rashtrapati Bhawan for the next five years. Negotiations of the BJP with regional parties have also been going on to enlist their support. 
The President is chosen through an Electoral College that includes national and state lawmakers.

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