The Election Commission on Wednesday said special pens will be provided to the electoral college members for the July 17 presidential election, in view of a controversy surrounding balloting for a Rajya Sabha seat in Haryana last year.

"Pens with different ink will be provided to electors at polling stations by designated officials along with the ballot papers," Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told media persons here.

"Electors will have to mark the ballot paper only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Use of any other pen may lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting, under Rule 31(1)(d) of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections Rules, 1974," he added.

"There was this controversy with regard to use of pens in Haryana (Rajya Sabha elections). Keeping that experience in mind, we have decided to now supply particular pens," the Chief Election Commissioner said.

"The pens' speciality is that these have been manufactured under Election Commission's supervision. Their ink is different from other inks," Zaidi added.

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced that voting, if required, to elect India's next President will take place on July 17, and counting thereafter on July 20.

According to an EC official, the ink would be supplied by Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited company.

The Congress had cried foul after votes of 13 of its MLAs cast for Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana on June 11 last year were deemed invalid, as the ballot papers were marked with a pen different than the one provided by the EC. 

This invalidation of votes led to unexpected election of BJP-backed media baron Subhash Chandra over Congress-backed candidate R.K. Anand to the Upper House of Parliament.