The President of India is the most respected position, as the head of the state. Although the position has only ceremonial power, still it is considered as an important position.The voting is scheduled on 17 July’17 and counting will be done on 20 July’17, five days before the expiry of existing President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee’s term.
Ms. Meira Kumar and Mr. Ramnath Kovind are the two contesting candidates for the post. Although, the caste politics has not reached to the post of president in earlier elections. But, this time BJP has tried to promote Mr. Kovind as Dalit President. After the nomination of Mr. Kovind, the opposition party led by Congress has nominated another Dalit leader, Ms. Meira Kumar.
BJP along with NDA partners has directly 48% votes of MP & MLA along with 12% votes from other parties’ MP and MLA including the parties not supporting BJP central Govt have also declared their support for Mr. Kovind nomination by BJP. The opposition parties have only 40% percent support from MP and MLA.
|Party/Alliance||Party Consist||Lok Sabha Votes||Rajya Sabha Votes||State Assemblies Votes||Total Votes||Percentage|
|NDA||BJP, SHS, TDP, LJSP, SAD, RLSP, AD, GFP, MGP
AINRC, JKPDP, NPF, NPP, PMK, SDF, SWP
|Other Parties||AIADMK ,YSRCP, JD(U),BJD, TRS,INLD & IND||50,268||20,532||63,107||133,907||12.20%|
|Government Total (Including Non NDA Parties’ support)||661,278||60.30%|
|UPA||INC, IUML, RSP, KC (M), DMK||34,692||46,020||93,137||173,849||15.90%|
|Other Parties||AITC, CPI(M), NCP, SP, BSP, AAP, RJD
AIUDF, JDS, JMM, AIMIM, CPI, JKNC
However, the chance of final election of Ms. Meira Kumar is high, as the election will not be contested on party lines. The election is conducted by the rules of Election Commission of India (ECI). The election commission has declared that special pen will be provided to the eligible voters with a paper ballot. Further, the election commission has declared that the political parties will not be allowed, using Schedule X of Constitution of India, for issuing whips to the party members. This is enforced to make it a free and fair election process, without any external undue pressure on the eligible electors.
Hence, the above calculation of voting percentages based on the party support has very little meaning in the election process. MP and MLA from BJP, JD(U), AIADMK etc can vote in favour of Ms. Meira Kumar. Similarly, MP and MLA from Congress, RJD, BSP etc can vote in favor of Mr. Kovind.
As per the reservation policy, about 25% members in the legislative assemblies and parliament belong to SC/ST. Further, there is a significant number of MP and MLA from OBC category and minority communities in all the legislative assemblies.
Ms. Meira Kumar is best among the two candidates with her long bureaucratic and political career. There are high chances that MPs and MLAs from the SC/ST/OBC and minority community will vote against the BJP nominated candidate i.e. Mr. Kovind.
During 1969 Presidential election, Mr. V. V. Giri as an independent candidate won against Mr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, who was officially nominated candidate by the then ruling Congress party. This was possible due to the significant number of Congress members voted for Mr. VV Giri.
After this lesson, Ms. Indira Gandhi in 1974 and Janta Dal Govt in 1979 tried to pass anti defection law. But, it failed on both occasions. However, more stringent anti defection bill was passed in 1985 by Rajiv Gandhi, after riding the wave of Indira Gandhi assassination of all India anti-Sikh riots. This has led to a strange situation where PM is nominated using Anti Defection law, and President is elected by free and fair election.
Author – S. Kumar
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