Contributed By Prashanth Garapati
With Presidential election around the corner and reading so much of news about the election sparked my curiosity of the actual math behind the election process. I have done a basic research and collated information from few articles to help you understand the process.
The next presidential election will be held in India before 25 July 2017, the day when the incumbent President’s term expires.
The election to the President of India is an indirect election. The people do not elect the President directly. He is elected by MPs & MLAs who are in turn elected by people. The election process is based on the concept of Electoral College and the value of vote of MPs & MLAs is different.
Eligibility Criteria :
The following are the mandatory requirements for anyone to contest the election for the President of India.
1. Must be a citizen of India and have completed 35 years of age
2. Must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha and not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local government.(Exceptions are the offices of President and Vice- President, Governor of any State and Ministers of Union or State)
3. Apart from the above conditions, the nomination paper of a candidate has to be signed by at least fifty eligible voters (MPs & MLAs) as proposers and at least fifty eligible voters as seconders.
4. The members nominated by the President have no right to vote in this election. Similarly, the members of the Legislative Councils of the State Legislatures, wherever they exist, have also been excluded from the electoral college.
Workflow of the election process:
The one major difference between any normal general election and the Presidential election is the differential value of votes of various electors (voters). In any normal election, the value of the vote of every citizen is the same. His/her vote is counted as one vote.
But in the Presidential election, the value of the MP vote is different from the value of a MLA vote. Not just that, the value of a MLA vote from one state differs from the value of the MLA vote of another state. The value of all the votes put together is the value of the voters for the election. Before each such election, the Election Commission notifies the total value of all the votes based on vacancies etc at that point in time.
Value of a MLA vote:
Value of MLA vote = (Total Population of the state* )/ (No of constituencies in the state x 1000)
Ex 1: Andhra Pradesh (Erstwhile):
Population : 4,35,02,708 & Total MLAs : 294.
Value of each MLA vote = 148
4,35,02,708 / (294*1000) = 148 [ 147.9, rounded off to 148]
Ex 2: Punjab
Population : 1,35,51,060 & Total MLAs : 117.
Value of each MLA vote = 116
1,35,51,060 / (117*1000)
Value of the UP MLA vote is the highest at 208, while Sikkim is the lowest with seven.
*Population of state: it has been decided through the 84th Constitutional Amendment, that until the population figures for the first census after 2026 are published (in other words, 2031 census), the population of the States for the purpose of this calculation will mean the population as per the 1971 census.
Value of each MP Vote:
Value of a MP vote = Total value of MLA votes in all the states / Total no of MPs
= 549474 / 776*
*Lok Sabha 543 + Rajya Sabha 233
So the total Value of the 4896* electors of the presidential elections in 2012 sums up to:
= Value of MLA votes + Value of MP votes
= 549474 + 549408**
* 4120 MLAs + 776 MPs
** 776 x 708
A good friend pointed out that according to the following equation, Total value of MP votes should be exactly equal to Total value of MLA votes. But it isn’t the case as of now!?
Value of each MP vote = Total value of MLA votes in all the states / Total no of MPs
=> Value of each MP Vote * Total no of MPs = Total value of MLA votes in all the states
=> Total value of MP votes = Total value of MLA votes
But as of now MP votes value stands at 549408 and MLA votes value at 549474.
Explanation: The difference in value of 65 is becasue the actual value of MP vote is 708.085 ( 549474 / 776) but it is rounded off to 708 for conevenience.
In ideal case, Total Value of MP votes = 708.085*776 = 549474
But for convenience it is taken as 708*776 = 549408
Rouding off for convenience (0.085*776 = 65) is the resaon for the difference between ideal and current Total value of MP votes.
A candidate needs more than half the votes to win the election.
Where does the BJP stand? The BJP and its allies have total vote value of about 5,31,954 while they need about 5,49,442 for their candidate to win. It needs support of at least one opposition party to win. Shiv Sena may play party pooper and has a vote value of 25,893. Given its strained ties with the BJP, it is not a reliable ally. There is no guarantee it will support the BJP candidate this time even though it’s part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Earlier, it has supported the UPA candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee in presidential polls.
Who can support the BJP candidate? The BJP can hope to get support from four opposition parties — the BJD, AIADMK, TDP and TRS — which are known to lean towards the party. With the combined vote value of both the BJD and the AIADMK, the two parties are most likely to extend support, the BJP candidate will manage to get 6,28,195, far more than the required 5,49,442. Even if the Shiv Sena votes for the united opposition candidate, it won’t be able to damage the BJP’s chances.
What is the Opposition strategy? The opposition leaders who are trying to forge an alliance hope if they come together they would be able to persuade the BJD, AIADMK, TDP and TRS not to break Opposition’s unity. They hope to get support from even the Shiv Sena if the candidate is acceptable to the right-wing party.
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