Presidential Election 2017: Opposition’s presidential nominee Meira Kumar on Sunday wrote a letter to the electoral collegium seeking support in the upcoming presidential elections that are scheduled to take place on July 17. Meira, who will face a formidable opponent in NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind, asked members to vote on the basis of their ‘inner voice of conscience’. As per the Constitution, no lawmaker can be issued a whip by his party. The electoral college is comprised of members of Parliament and state Assemblies. “The President takes an oath to ‘protect and defend the Constitution’ – the backbone of our democracy. It is this Constitution that I and countless others have invoked to reinforce our democratic values… The Constitution recognises the office of the President as being the final touchstone for the passage of laws. It, therefore, cannot function to serve narrow political interests,” Meira Kumar said. “As an honourable member of the collegium, you have the unique privilege to make history…Let us stand together, in spirit and action, to affirm our pledge to this sacred process … and to that guiding voice within us,” the former Lok Sabha Speaker added in the letter.
Kumar was on Thursday nominated as the Congress-led opposition’s joint candidate for the upcoming Presidential election. So far, Opposition parties including the Janata Dal (Secular), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Communist Party of India and CPI (Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party have announced their support to Kumar.
The total vote value of the Electoral College is 10,98,903. The vote weightage of an MLA depends on the population of the state he or she represents, while for an MP, it’s fixed at 708. A candidate needs 50 per cent plus votes to win the poll. On the other hand, NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind is being supported by major non-NDA parties like the JD-U, the BJD, the AIADMK, the TRS and the YSR-Congress.