The electoral college numbers seem to be stacked in favour of NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind and he may well end up getting more votes than incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee and his predecessor Pratibha Patil. With Shiv Sena tonight joining other NDA allies in backing Kovind and Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD), the YSR Congress and Telangana’s ruling TRS too extending support, the 71-year-old dalit leader is expected to have a smooth sailing in the event of an election. The BJP may also seek the support of rival factions of AIADMK or DMK-–parties dominating Tamil Nadu.
The opposition parties are meeting on June 22 to decide on fielding a consensus candidate for the presidential election. CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told PTI in Hyderabad that the opposition parties would “certainly” field a nominee. The total strength of the electoral college which votes to elect the President comprises all elected MPs and members of legislative assemblies of all states and UTs of Delhi and Puducherry.
The total comes to 10,98,903 votes with each MP carrying a vote value of 708. The vote weight of an MLA depends on the population of the state he or she represents. A candidate needs 50 per cent plus votes to win the poll. Halfway mark comes to 5,49,452. The NDA, led by the BJP, has 5,37,683 votes and this is including the Shiv Sena, and the shortage is around 12,000 votes.
But the promised support from the BJD, the TRS and the YSR Congress and likely backing from the AIADMK could offset the shorfall of the presidential votes by a substantial margin. The voting is through a secret ballot, and party whip does not apply. In the 2012 elections, Pranab Mukherjee garnered 7,13,763 votes while Pratibha Patil secured 6,38,116 votes in the previous polls in 2007. Both Mukherjee and Patil were Congress nominees.