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Elections with A Difference: Here’s How India Will Get Its Next President, Vice President


The election to choose the next President of India will be held on July 18 with the result to be declared on July 21, the Election Commission announced on Thursday. Along with the President, a new Vice President will also be chosen, and that election may take place in August.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies have a comfortable majority in the presidential electoral college comprising MPs of both Houses of Parliament and MLAs of all state assemblies. They also have the required numbers in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to elect the next Vice President.

While political circles are abuzz with speculation over probable candidates, here’s the low-down on how the President and Vice President are elected in India.

President

A contestant must be a citizen of India and above 35 years of age. Additionally, he or she must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha.

The President is elected by an electoral college comprising elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of states and Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

So, the electoral college has 776 members of Parliament (543 from Lok Sabha, 233 from Rajya Sabha), as well as 4,809 members of state legislative assemblies.

The value of the electoral college is 10,86,431 votes. The value of the vote of each elector (MP/MLA) is predetermined. For each MP, the value is fixed at 708. For an MLA, this value is determined by a formula involving the population (based on the 1971 Census) of the state he/she represents. So the value differs from state to state.

Being the most populous state, each MLA from Uttar Pradesh carries the highest value of 208 among all states. So the 403 MLAs from UP have a value of 83,824 in total. The 80 MPs from the state have a total vote value of 56,640. This means the overall value of votes of MPs and MLAs from the state is 1.4 lakh, giving them nearly 12.7 per cent weightage.

After the nominations are filed, the MLAs, in their states and Union Territories, and MPs, in Parliament, are given ballot papers (green for MPs and pink for MLAs) to cast their votes.

According to reports, this time the value of the vote of an MP is likely to go down to 700 from 708 in the presidential polls due to the absence of a legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir.

The election is won not by the person who wins the maximum votes but the person who gets more votes above a certain quota.

So, after calculating the total value of votes polled by each candidate, the returning officer adds up the value of all valid votes polled. The quota is determined by dividing the sum of valid votes by 2 and adding one to the quotient.

If no one gets more votes than the quota, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated.

Vice President

To become a candidate, an individual must meet certain criteria. He or she must be nominated by at least 20 electors as proposers and seconders each.

A person cannot be elected as Vice President unless he or she is a citizen of India, has completed the age of 35 years, and is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).

If the person holds any office of profit under the Central or state government or any subordinate local authority, then he/she is not eligible to hold the office.

The Vice President is elected by an electoral college. Only the Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can vote.

The VP is elected by the members of both Houses of Parliament assembled at a joint meeting in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election is through a secret ballot.

Civilians and Members of Legislative Assemblies do not elect the Vice President directly.

Apart from the elected members of the two Houses, nominated members such as the ones from the Anglo-Indian community are also allowed to vote.

A candidate must secure at least 393 votes out of 785, which is the combined strength of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, to emerge victorious.

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