INDIA.Delhi: With overwhelming support from different parties, the BJP-backed NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu, facing former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, fielded by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), is certain to romp home, in the Presidential election scheduled to be held on Monday.
Yashwant Sinha made a final appeal to MPs and MLAs in a video released on Twitter on Saturday saying,“I stand for protecting secularism, a preambular pillar of our Constitution. My rival candidate belongs to a party that has made no secret of its resolve to destroy this pillar and establish majoritarian supremacy.”
“I stand for encouraging politics of consensus and cooperation. My rival candidate is backed by a party that practices politics of conflict and confrontation,” it added.
Making a subtle reference to the BJP, Sinha said that Murmu, if chosen as the next president of India, will be under the control of those “whose aim is to convert democratic India into an imitator of communist China.”
“One Nation, One Party, One Supreme Leader. Must this not be stopped? yes, it must be. Only you can stop it.I appeal to you to exercise your vote in terms of the Constitution, according to your conscience. The Constitution provides that the vote will be secret but there will be no party whip which means that you have to determine for who you want to vote for,” Sinha stated.
The polling to elect the country’s 15 th President will be held on July 18 and votes will be counted on July 21. Nearly 115 candidates are in the fray this time as against 106 candidates who contested the 2017 Presidential election. The term of President Ram Nath Kovind ends on 24 July. The new president will be sworn in on July 25, 2022.
Support to Murmu
NDA has about 48 percent of the vote share in the electoral college, and a number of other parties have also extended support to Murmu. The long list includes Biju Janata Dal (BJD), AlADMK, Janata Dal (U), Janata Dal (Secular), Apna Dal, YSR Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Telugu Desam Party(TDP), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Nishad Party, Republican Party of India (Athavale), National People’s Party (NPP), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Shiv Sena.
Naga People’s Front (NPF), Mizo National Front(MNF), Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), AINR Congress, Jannayak Janata Party, United Democratic Party, United Democratic Party (UDP), Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and United People’s Party Liberal(UPPL).
The Opposition parties supporting Sinha include the Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), J&K National Conference, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), CPI, CPM, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), All India United Democratic Front (AUDF), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Aam Aadmi Party.
The electoral college of 4809 voters with 10.86 lakh votes (Assembly votes-543231 + Parliament votes-5,43,200) will decide the fate of the candidates. The college comprises MPs of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, MLAs of states, and MLAs of Delhi and Puducherry. Nominated members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Assemblies, and members of state legislative councils are not part of the electoral college.
Value of the votes
Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs)
The value of the MLA’s vote is determined by the population of each state as per the census of 1971. The value varies from state to state depending upon the population. It is as high as 208 in Uttar Pradesh and as low as 07 in Sikkim. The weighted votes from all assemblies add up to 543231 (No of Assemblies 30, No of MLAs 4033).
Members of Parliament (MPs)
The 776 MPs (Lok Sabha-543, Rajya Sabha-233) contribute the same total votes as the MLAs. As such the total weighed 543231 votes are divided by 776 rounded off to 700= 5,43,200.
The Electoral College
As stated above the value of MLAs’ vote differs from state to state. The formula is:
Andhra Pradesh- No of MLAs-175 x Value of each vote-159=Total votes of the state=27825, Arunachal Pradesh-60 x 08=480, Assam-126 x-116=14616, Bihar-243 x 173=42039, Chattisgarh-90 x 129=11610, Goa-40 x 20=800, Gujarat 182 x 147=26754, Haryana-90 x112=10080, Himachal Pradesh-68 x51=3468, Jharkhand-81 x 176=14256 and Karnataka-224 x131=29344.
Kerala-140 x 152 =21280, Madhya Pradesh-230 x 131=30130, Maharashtra-288 x 175 =50225. (However with number of MLAs getting reduced to 287 due to one vacant post, the votes have been reduced to 50225), Manipur-60 x18, =1080, Meghalaya-60 x 17 =1020, Mizoram-40 x 08=320, Nagaland-60 x 09=540, Odisha-147 x 149=21903, Punjab-117 x 116=13572 and Rajasthan-200 x 129=25800.
Sikkim-32 x 07=224, Tamil Nadu-234 x 176 =41184, Telangana-119 x 132= 15708, Tripura-60 x 26= 1560, Uttarakhand-70 x 64 = 4480, Uttar Pradesh-403 x 208 = 83824, West Bengal-294 x 151= 44394, Delhi- 70 x 58= 4060 and Puducherry- 30 x 16 = 480. Total Assembly members-4033, Total value-543231.
Lok Sabha members-543 x 700=380100, Rajya Sabha members-233 x 700=163100, Total MPs-776, Total value-5,43,200.
Total-No of MLAs-4033, Votes-543231 + No of MPs-776, Votes-5,43,200=Grand total-10,86,431.
The 64-year-old Draupadi Murmu, former Jharkhand Governor, becomes the first woman Presidential candidate from a tribal Community since the late P A Sangma, a candidate from the tribal community too had contested the 2012 Presidential election.
She joined the BJP back in 1997, and won the Assembly elections twice from the Rairangpur constituency. During the BJP and Biju Janata Dal coalition government, she became the minister twice (March 6, 2000, to August 6, 2002), and (August 7, 2002, to May 16, 2004). She became the first woman Governor of Jharkhand in May 2015 and served as the Governor till 2021.
The 84-year-old Yashwant Sinha, from Patna, Bihar joined as a member of the Janata Party after resigning from the IAS in 1984. He became the party’s all-India general secretary in 1986 and was elected a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1988. After Janata Dal was formed in 1989, he became JD’s general secretary. He later joined the BJP.
He was the Union finance minister in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998 to 2002). Before that, he held that portfolio in Chandra Shekhar’s Cabinet as well (November 1990 to June 1991). He quit the BJP on April 21, 2018, and joined the Trinamool Congress(TMC) in March 2021. He left TMC last month after he was selected as the joint Opposition candidate for the presidential election. He has been a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi-led NDA.