The presidential poll will be held on 17 July, the Election Commission of India announced on Wednesday. Counting of votes if necessary will be taken up on 20 July, it stated.
Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said the notification for the election would be announced on 14 June, the last date for nominations is 28 June, and candidates can withdraw their nomination on or before 1 July, the CEC said.
On 17 July, voting will begin at 10 am and continue till 5 pm. On 20 July, counting will begin at 11 am and the results will be announced by the Commission on its completion.
The term of the present incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee will end on 24 July.
The voting will be through secret ballot, the CEC said. For marking the vote, the commission will supply particular pens. This pen will be given to the electors in the polling station by the designated official when the ballot paper is handed over.
“Electors have to mark the ballot only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Voting by using any other pen may lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting,” Zaidi said. "A ballot paper would also be termed invalid ‘if any mark is made by which the elector may afterwards be identified,” he said.
The CEC said no political party can issue a whip to its MPs and MLAs in the matter of voting in the Presidential election, but the EC would make sure that no offence of ‘bribery’ or undue influence’ takes place during the poll.
“It is also clarified that as per Section 18 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, the offence of ‘bribery’ or ‘undue influence’ as defined in Sections 171B and 171C of IPC, by the returned candidate or any person with the consent of the returned candidate are among the grounds on which the election can be declared void by the Supreme Court in an election petition,” the CEC said.
“Counting of votes will be held in New Delhi under the supervision of the Returning Officer. On completion of counting, Return of Election will be signed and issued by the Returning Officer declaring the candidate who secures the quota elected. Formal announcement of election of the President will be made by the Commission,” the CEC added.