New Delhi/Mumbai: Members of Parliament and Legislative assemblies in 29 states and 07 Union Territories across India on Monday are casting their votes to elect the New President - the highest constitutional post of the country.
As voting began today morning, Prime Minister Modi was first to cast his vote. He had earlier sent congratulatory message to Kovind exuding confidence that he will win.
NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind and UPA nominee Meira Kumar are contesting for India's key post for which voting started today morning at 10:00 am. It will continue till 05:00 pm.
Counting of votes will be done on July 20. Results will also be announced on the same day.
The new President will take oath on Tuesday, July 25.
As of now, number favours NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind. He is backed not just by the NDA but also several regional parties like Tamil Nadu's AIADMK. Ruling party sources say they expect enough cross voting in opposition ranks for their candidate to win about 70 per cent of the vote.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also announced support for Kovind, who till his nomination for the president's post by the BJP was Bihar Governor.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker and daughter of veteran freedom fighter Babu Jagjivan Ram Meira Kumar is supported by UPA comprising of 17 opposition parties.
Ahead of voting, UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the presidential election demands a "vote of conscience" as it represents a clash of ideas and conflict of disparate values.
She described the electoral contest as the opposition's fight against a "narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision" while addressing a gathering of opposition parties here where its presidential and vice presidential nominees, Meira Kumar and Gopal Krishna Gandhi respectively, were formally introduced.
"We must have confidence in the values we believe in.
This election represents a clash of ideas, a conflict of disparate values. The election demands a vote of conscience to preserve the India that the Mahatma and the illustrious generation of freedom fighters, joined by thousands upon the numbers of ordinary men and women, fought for," she said.
Sonia Gandhi said the numbers may be stacked against them, but "the battle must be fought and fought hard".
"We cannot and must not let India be hostage to those who wish to impose upon it a narrow-minded, divisive and communal vision," she said.