The Election Commission announced that on 17th July the Presidential elections in India will take place and the counting of the votes will be done on 20th July and results will be declared subsequently. Pranab Mukherjee’s term as the President will end on 24th July 2017. We have had some of the great personalities as our countries President- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, APJ Abdul Kalam, Pratibha Patel and many others, who have had a great impact on the people of not only India but all around the world. All the people have this buzz of the Presidential election nowadays, but has anybody ever noted that the elections of the President are a bit twisted. Unlike the elections of our MP’s and MLA’s who are elected by a simple system called “First Pass the Post System” where whosoever gets the highest votes gets elected, the Presidential elections follow proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The succeeding paragraphs will vividly elucidate the processes and eligibility for the Election of the President of India.

Eligibility (Article 58 and 59)

The person eligible for the position of President must be:

  • An Indian citizen.
  • Completed the age of 35 years.
  • Must be qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
  • Should not hold any office of profit under the Union Government or any state government or any local or other authority
  • Should not hold membership of any of the house of Union or State Legislature.

Process of Presidential Election (Article 54 and 55)

The President of India is elected indirectly by the people of India; He/She is elected through an Electoral College.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: The President of India is elected by an electoral college consisting of:

  • Elected members of the both the Houses of the Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of the States
  • ‘States’ also include the national capital territory of Delhi and the Union territory of Pondicherry (as per 70th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992).

Note: The nominated members of both the houses, like us are not entitled to vote for the same. (12 from Rajya sabha and 2 from Lok Sabha)

The thing which is important for Nomination of the elections for the office of President is that it should be supported by the 100 elector which include 50 proposers and 50 seconders to the proposal in total. Also the nominated candidates are required to submit a security deposit of INR 15000 to the Reserve Bank of India.

VALUE OF VOTES: Every MP and MLA is given a specified number of votes(value of vote).

In case of an MLAs, this value is equal to the population of the state divided by the number of elected members of the legislative assembly of that state and further divided by 1000. If this number is higher than 500 another vote is allocated to each member.

The total Value of votes of a particular state = Value of Vote of one MLA * No. of MLAs in that State.

Total value of all the votes of the MLAs of all the states= Sum of the vote values of all the states.

The value of votes of electors is determined on the basis of population of the States. However population keeps changing every year, so it has been decided that the population of the States for the purpose of this calculation will mean the population as per the 1971 censusThis is expected to change after the 2031 census.

Value of Vote of an MP = Total value of votes of all MLAs of all States/Total Number of Elected MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Total Vote Values of All the MPs= Total no. of MPs * Value of vote of one MP

Total value of Votes for presidential election=(Total Vote Value of all the MPs + Total Vote Value of all the MLAs)

After the votes are cast,valid ballot papers are separated from the invalid ones, the valid ballot papers are distributed among the contesting candidates on the basis of first preference marked on each of them for those candidates. After this, the Vote Quota is calculated.

The Vote Quota has come about as a result of Proportional Representation which ensures equal representation to all groups. Simply casting votes or indicating preference is not enough as the person with the most number of votes or first preference does not win the Presidential election. Whoever achieves the Vote Quota first, becomes the winner.

The Vote Quota=(Total Value of valid votes for presidential election/2) + 1

Note: The value of votes in favour of each contesting candidate is found out by multiplying the number of valid ballot papers on which the first preference is marked for him, by the value of vote which each ballot paper of a member (MP or MLA) represents. The total votes secured by each contesting candidate is then ascertained by adding together the value of votes secured by him from the MPs and the MLAs. This is the first round of counting.

Seems a bit confusing, right? Here is an Example.

Suppose we have four candidates-A, B, C, D and they get the following share of valid votes, after the first round of counting:

  • A: 14000
  • B: 9000
  • C: 11,000
  • D: 16000 votes respectively.

In this case the candidate B having the lowest will be eliminated and the votes will be distributed to other candidate in accordance with the second preference of the voters who had given 1st preference to B. Suppose A gets 4000 and D gets 2000 and C gets 3000.It would lead to the following scenario:

  • A: 18000
  • C: 13000
  • D: 19000

Again the candidate C will be eliminated and its votes would be transferred to A & D. Suppose A gets 8000 and D gets 5000. Now the values are

  • A: 26,000
  • D: 24,000

D having the lower votes gets eliminated and A is elected as President of India, since he has crossed the threshold limit of 25001.

Bravo! we just got to know how the President of India gets elected. Next time someone asks quote this example and you are good to go!