Fifth Presidential Election of India, 1969: Winner V.V. Giri

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FIFTH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, 1969

Dr. Zakir Hussain, the Third President of India, passed away suddenly on 03-05-1969. Under Article 65(1) of the Constitution, the Vice-President Shri V.V. Giri assumed office to act as President. However, Shri V.V. Giri, resigned on 20th July, 1969 as Vice-President and also as the acting President. As under article 62(2) of the Constitution, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of the President occurring by reason of his death, resignation, etc., is required to be held in any case within 6 months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy, necessary steps to hold the election were taken immediately.

RETURNING OFFICER

The Secretary of the Lok Sabha.

ASSTT. RETURNING OFFICERS

One Deputy Secretary of the Lok Sabha and Secretaries of various State Legislative Assemblies.

ELECTION PROGRAMME

1. Notified on 14.07.1969
2. Last date for making nomination 24.07.1969
3. Scrutiny of Nominations on 26.07.1969
4. Last date for withdrawal 29.07.1969
5. Date of Poll 16.08.1969 (10 A.M. to 5.P.M.)
6. Counting votes 20.08.1969

CANDIDATES

The contesting candidates and the votes secured by them were as follows:

Sl. NoCANDIDATEVOTES POLLED
1.Shri V.V. Giri4,01,515
2.Shri Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy3,13,548
3.Shri C.D. Deshmukh1,12,769
4.Shri Chandradatt Senani5,814
5.Smt. Furcharan Kaur940
6.Shri Rajabhoj Pandurang Nathuji831
7.Pandit Babu Lal Mag576
8.Ch. Hari Ram125
9.Shri Sharma Manovihari Anirudh125
10.Shri Khubi Ram94
11.Shri Bhagmal0
12.Shri Krishna Kumar Chatterjee0
13.Shri Santosh Kumar Kachhwaha0
14.Doctor Ramdular Tripathi Chakor0
15.Shri Ramanlal Purushottam Vyas0
TOTAL8,36,337

The quota fixed for election was 4,18,169 votes. As no candidate secured the required quota in the first count as above, candidate after candidate was excluded till only two candidates, namely, Shri V.V. Giri (with 4,20,077 votes) and Shri N. Sanjeeva Reddy (with 4,05,427 votes) remained in the field. Shri V.V. Giri who secured the quota was declared elected by the Returning Officer on 20.08.1969 and the newly elected President assumed office on 24-08-1969.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE ELECTION

1. An innovation was introduced for the first time to ensure strict secrecy of voting. The serial numbers on the back of the ballot papers were covered with coloured slips of paper pasted at the four corners.
2. The ballot papers were shuffled three or four times during the polling so that the agents of the candidates find it difficult to note down the serial numbers to identify the votes cast by members during counting.
3. For the first time in suitable cases, some MLAs were allowed to cast their votes at Parliament House in New Delhi instead of their State Capitals.
4. There was a gap of 4 days between the date of the poll and the date of counting. For this, there was some amount of unjustified criticism of the Commission. The reasons why such a gap was given were several. First, there were numerous postal ballot papers for electors who were under preventive detention. They were detained at outlying stations and the Commission wanted to ensure that they had sufficient time to send their votes to reach the Returning Officer before counting. The polled ballot boxes had to come from distant States of North East like Nagaland and Assam and weather conditions in August in these places were extremely inclement and unfavorable. The Commission was in constant touch with the meteorological authorities. The Air Flights were badly delayed or cancelled. Ultimately the ballot boxes had to be carried from Guwahati by the army courier plane under special escorts. All previous Presidential Elections in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 were held in first half of May when the weather was in good condition and in 1969, for the first time, the election was to be held in August.
5. It was represented that the agents of the candidates should be allowed to travel in the same Plane from various State Capitals in which ballot boxes were being carried to Delhi. The Commission agreed to this request.
6. The Commission made the Civil Aviation authorities to permit the escort of the polled ballot boxes (the respectively Assistant Returning Officers) to keep the sealed ballot boxes by his side closely near his seat in the Plane.
7. Another criticism was that the votes should have been counted at the State Capitals themselves instead of being brought to Delhi. These critics were not aware that in the proportional representation by single transferable system of voting, counting can not be done in piecemeal at different places to arrive at decisive result.