Voting underway to elect new India president

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She called the election a battle of ideologies. They will have to mark their ballot with a specially-designed marker, the Election Commission (EC) said.

(L) Ramnath Kovind candidate backed by NDA (R) Meira Kumar candidate backed by UPA.

The three independent legislators who voted in favour of the NDA candidate are Geeta Koda, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Enos Ekka. After a meeting between the BJD MLAs/MPs with NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, Patnaik said: "My party is supporting Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential candidate".

As per reports, after an hour since the polling had commenced, NCP came out with a statement that they will be extending support to Kovind in the Presidential poll.

"Ram Nath Kovind will surely uplift the deprived section".

A united Opposition initially had a razor-thin edge, but BJP president Amit Shah's deft handling brought many regional parties to support Kovind. Counting would be held on July 20.

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Describing the President as "protector of the Constitution", she appealed the non-NDA lawmakers to elect the leader who can "safeguard the vision of India, for which Mahatma Gandhi fought for". Whoever wins, the good thing is a Scheduled Caste person will be the country's president. "I congratulate all political parties for this", Modi said at the meeting.

The voting that started at 10:00 AM IST will close by 05:00 PM in the evening. The voting is done through a secret ballot.

Modi was quoted as saying that there was "clarity" about the presidential poll and the "road ahead is also clear".

Another senior BJP minister said he has been assigned to pitch for votes from other parties and he is confident of managing it. The electoral college - comprising 4,896 voters, including 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs - elects the President through the system of proportional representation.

Stay tuned for live updates of the India Presidential election voting and results on this website.

Kovind, accompanied by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav, reached the Sanganer airport in the afternoon and later held a meeting with BJP MPs and MLAs at the chief minister's residence.