Presidential Election 2017 : Litmus test for Modi led NDA and Sonia’s INC alliance

Presidential Election 2017 : Litmus test for Modi led NDA and Sonia’s INC alliance
Written by Shruti Bhatt

Election Commission of India shall on Wednesday initiate the process to elect the new, and 13th, President of India by issuing a notice, which will set in motion the process of filling in nominations for the election on July 17th. India follows the electoral college system, which places power in the hands of MPs and MLAs to choose the next president. The vote shall have every MP vote value as 708, however the vote value for MLAs change from state to state, states like Uttar Pradesh have much higher vote values than state like Sikkim (this is different from the USA, where electoral college gives special consideration to smaller states as compared to the bigger ones. Also, the parliament of the country has only 776 voters (Rajya Sabha 233 and Lok Sabha 543) while the biggest section of voters shall be the MLAs who have 4120 voters.

The last presidential election, Pranab Mukherjee, nominee of the Congress-led UPA, defeated his sole rival PA Sangma of the BJP-led NDA, assuming the role of the President from 25th July 2012. As his five years are to be over, the last day for nominations for the next President is to be 28th June which shall be followed by scrutiny on 29th June. The nominees can withdraw their nomination till July 1, following which the voting will take place. The count of votes shall be done on 20th July, and the President-elect shall thus take charge from the next day.

Here this is to be noted that the opposition alliance NDA has around 18000 voters, which is lesser than the half of the total, but expectations are high that smaller parties all over the nation shall join hands to appoint a President of the opposition. Sonia Gandhi, President of INC, has already been trying to bring all the opposition parties together on one platform, a process which can formally start from 15th June.  In a lunch, organised by her, leaders from 17 different parties attended to discuss the Presidential nomination. Names of Meira Kumar and Gopalkrishna Gandhi are doing the rounds as the possible nominee from the opposition.

To nominate a candidate for the Presidential election, at least fifty voters shall propose his/her name, called the proposers and at least another fifty shall back the suggestion, called the seconders.

Whilst the ruling party has not yet confirmed any candidate as well, it is announced it is ready to go for a consensus candidate. A committee has been formed comprising of Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley to decide on the candidate with other party leaders. The names of Sumitra Mahajan and Draupadi Murmu are doing the rounds.

The Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi has said that this year votes shall only be put using special pens, failing which the vote shall not be counted. Mr. Zaidi has made clear that parties can not issue whips. It has also been said that the votes shall take place in the parliament house in Delhi as well as the different legislative assemblies in states and union territories. The ballot then shall be brought back to capital and counted.

About the author

Shruti Bhatt

Shruti Bhatt is an engineering graduate, consumed with her passions day in and day out. An avid moviemaniac, a foodie, a bibliophile, and coffee-fashion-music enthusiast, Ms. Bhatt is on the way of becoming a raconteur - the word she is most fascinated with.