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Presidential election: Polling on July 17, counting on July 20, announces Election Commission

With President Pranab Mukherjee's term coming to an end on July 24, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday announced that polling for the upcoming presidential election will be held on July 17. The counting of votes will begin on July 20, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said. Briefing the press on the election process in New Delhi, Zaidi said the poll body will issue a notification in this regard on June 14. "The last date for nominations is June 28. The date for scrutiny of the nomination is June 30. And the last date for withdrawal of nomination is July 1," Zaidi said.

The voting will begin at 10 am on July 17 and will go on till 5 pm, he added. Zaidi said the counting of votes will begin at 11 am on July 20. Election will also be held on the same date for the post of Vice-President.
Meanwhile, the Opposition is yet to arrive at a consensus on fielding a common candidate. Leaders from across the Opposition camp have held talks on who should succeed Pranab Mukherjee as President. Earlier, NCP president Sharad Pawar ruled himself out of the presidential race, saying that it was a "closed chapter" for him.

"I am not keen (to be in the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan). I already told them (opposition parties) in very clear terms – for me, it is a closed chapter," he said.

Besides Pawar, among some prominent names doing the rounds as consensus Opposition candidate are former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, besides former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar of the Congress.

On the other hand, the BJP-led NDA has also kept its cards close to its chest and is yet to drop any hints on who they would be backing in the presidential race.
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