The election for the President of India will be held on Monday. The contest is between the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate and former Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu and the Opposition’s choice, senior politician and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha.
There are about 4,809 eligible voters in the electoral college. With the Opposition parties such as the BJD, TDP, YSRCP, JD(S), JMM, BSP, Shiromani Akali Dal and the JMM pledging support to Ms. Murmu along with the AIADMK, both the factions of the Shiv Sena, JD(U) and the BJP, she is comfortably placed to win more than two-third votes.
The elected members of both the Houses of Parliament and the legislative Assemblies of States, the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry make the electoral college for the presidential election. Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha P.C. Mody is the Returning Officer for the election. Arrangements have been made in Parliament and in all State Assemblies for polling and counting will take place here on Thursday. There are 31 such polling stations across the country for the 16 th presidential election to elect the 15 th President.
The value of total votes is 10,86,431. Given its strength in Parliament and Assemblies and considering the support Ms. Murmu received from various unexpected quarters, the ruling NDA’s candidate is likely to win more than 6.67 lakh votes. Nominated MPs and MLAs and members of legislative councils are not entitled to vote in the presidential election.
In 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind received votes with value of more than seven lakh against his opponent Congress’s Meira Kumar. Considering the support for Ms. Murmu, it is quite possible that she may also receive similar value of votes in this election.
Green, pink ballots
MPs will get a green colour ballot paper and MLAs will get a pink ballot paper in the election. “For marking the vote, the Commission will supply particular pens. The pen will be given to the electors in the polling station by the designated official when the ballot paper is handed over. Electors have to mark the ballot only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Voting by using any other pen shall lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting,” the Election Commission said.
The 84 th amendment of the Constitution provides that the population of the States for the purposes of calculation of value of votes for the presidential election shall be based on 1971 census. “The total value of votes of all members of each State Assembly is worked out by multiplying the number of elective seats in the Assembly by the number of votes for each member, e.g., 175×159 = 27,825 for Andhra Pradesh. The total value of votes of all the States added together is divided by the total number of elected members of Parliament (Lok Sabha 543 + Rajya Sabha 233) to get the value of votes of each Member of Parliament,” a background note of the Commission added.
The value of vote of each Member of Parliament is 700. Each MLA of Uttar Pradesh has the highest value of vote, which is 208 and Sikkim MLA has the lowest value of vote of 7.
‘Excitement among tribals’
On the eve of presidential polls, NDA constituents met to felicitate their candidate Ms. Murmu, who addressed the gathering and said there was palpable excitement among the tribal communities and women over her candidature. “With my nomination there is excitement among tribals and women,” Ms. Murmu told the meeting, according to the sources. “There are around 10 crore tribals with more than 700 communities, and all are delighted with my nomination,” she said, according to an NDA MP present at the meeting. Before Ms. Murmu’s arrival, a mock drill for voting in the poll was carried out at Parliament. BJP leaders having parliamentary experience and members of the party’s legal cell guided the MPs about the process to cast the votes.
In his appeal to the electorate, Mr. Sinha said his rival candidate is supported by those who are mounting attacks on democracy. “Please ask yourself. What kind of President does India deserve? One who will protect the Constitution or one who will protect the Prime Minister?,” he asked in the appeal.