Election Of President


Election Of President


The President of India is not directly elected by the citizens of the country. He is elected directly by the representatives of people (i.e., Members of Parliament –MPs & Members of Legislative Assemblies – MLAs). All the MPs & MLAs in India form the Electoral College. In other words, the President is elected by an electoral college consisting of MPs & MLAs. The election process is slightly complex and people find it difficult to understand the calculations behind the value of vote etc. Here is an attempt to simplify the entire process.

The Electoral College consists of:

I) Elected members of both the houses of Parliament, and
II) The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the States.

The State Assemblies were included in order to make the President more truly representative of the choice of the nation. However, since the population the States and the strength of the Legislative Assembly is not uniform the system of giving one man one vote could not be adopted. Moreover, the strength of legislative assemblies in various States is far greater than the total strength of both the houses of Parliament. Therefore, in order to ensure uniformity in the scale or representation of the different state and the Union territories, a system of weighing the votes to be cast by each member was devised and given alongside.

The voting power of Elected members of Vidhan Sabha is worked out by the following formula:

Total population of the state. X 1000
Elected members of the Vidhan Sabha


Let the population of a state = 20849840

Total number of elected members in Assembly= 208

Therefore, voting power of member

__________________ = 100.239
208 x 1000

The number of votes each member of that state is entitled to cast is 100. The reminder 239 is disregarded as it is below 500. If it had been more than 500, each member would be given one more vote.

Similarly, the vote of each member of the Union Parliament (Rajya Sabha and LokSabha) is determined by dividing the total number of votes allotted to the elected members of the Legislative Houses with the total strength of both the houses.

This ensures:

A) The voting power of a MLA is proportionate to the population he represents.

B) The voting power of all the Elected members of the Parliament is made equal to the voting power of all the Elected members of the Legislative Assemblies in the country so that State does not have an upper hand in the election of the President. Thus, the President is elected indirectly by a system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

For the 2017 Presidential election, the total value of the MLA votes is 5,49,495. The value of a MLA vote in individual states is in the table below-

Counting Process-

The winning candidate has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected, i.e., 50% of valid first preferential votes polled +1. After the valid ballot papers are segregated 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. The value of votes in favor of each contesting candidate is ascertained by multiplying the number of 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 are 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.

To ascertain whether there is a winner after the first round of counting, the value of votes credited to each contesting candidate in the first round of counting is added up to determine the total value of valid votes polled at the election. This total value is divided by two and one is added to the quotient to determine the required quota for victory (50% +1). If any of the candidates receives the required number of votes in the first round, he is declared a winner.

However, even after the first round of counting, no candidate secures the required quota of votes, then the counting proceeds through a process of elimination and exclusion, whereby the candidate credited with the lowest number of first preferential votes in the first round is excluded and all his ballot papers are distributed among the remaining candidates on the basis of the second preferences marked in such ballots. The value of such transferred ballot papers will be the same as the value at which the excluded candidate received them. The ballot papers on which second preference is not marked is treated as exhausted ballot papers and shall not be further counted, even if the third or subsequent preferences are marked. This process is continued until there is a clear winner with 50% +1.