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इंडियन आवाज़     16 May 2022 06:20:13      انڈین آواز

Ruling coalition and opposition head for confrontation over Presidential poll

By Kushal Jeena

The ruling National Democratic Alliance, NDA seems heading for a bitter political confrontation over the upcoming election to elect India’s 17th President as the opposition is contemplating to put up a joint candidate to defeat the government’s nominee. The ruling dispensation does not enjoy full majority to get its candidate through. It still needs 18000 votes to muster a win.

On behalf of the opposition two key players, mainly Sharad Pawar of Nationalist Socialist Party and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, have been working overnight to persuade all those parties which are outside the NDA alliance. Both leaders held talks with key opposition leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, M K Stalin, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and others. Pawar has taken the responsibility of bringing Left parties on board as Ms. Banerjee and Left leaders have never been on the same page. However, opposition parties are yet to zero in on a candidate, but majority of them favor some senior leader from the southern part of the country as their joint nominee for the Presidential election that happens in July this year. The term of incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind ends on July 24, 2022.

The issue of the joint opposition candidate is likely to come in the brain storming session of the Congress that begins from May 13 in Udaipur in Rajasthan because without taking Congress on board opposition parties are not in a position to challenge the nominee of the ruling grouping and government has made up its mind that if a joint opposition candidate is fielded, it would like to propose the name of one of its senior most leaders as the choice of opposition.

“Winning the upcoming presidential election may not be easy for the BJP as it does not have even half the total number of legislators across the nation. The presidential elections will not be easy for the BJP this time. They don’t have even half of the total MLAs in the country,” Banerjee said on the sideline of an assembly session in Kolkata.

“Opposition parties together have more MLAs across the nation. the “game is not yet over”. Banerjee said that those not having even half of the total number of legislators in the country should not talk big as parties like the Samajwadi Party are stronger electorally than last time despite the recent drubbing in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

However, the BJP that leads the NDA says it is confident of winning the Presidential election because it runs just 18,000 votes short of magic number that it can easily manage as there is a convention in the Presidential election that all the legislators of state from where the Presidential nominee is chosen, vote for him rising above the party obligation.

The President of India is elected by an electoral college, which consists of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the state assemblies and also of NCT of Delhi and the Union Territories.

These elected representatives vote for the President, in theory representing the people who would ideally vote for the President.

In terms of numbers, the electoral college is made up of 233 members of the Rajya Sabha, 543 members of the Lok Sabha and 4,120 members of the assemblies — a total of 4,896 electors.

Under this, the total value of the electoral college consisting of 4,896 electors is 10,98,903 and the winning candidate has to get an additional vote with at least 50 percent to be declared elected.

The nominated members of the state assemblies and the two Houses are not allowed to participate in the presidential election as they have been nominated by the President himself.

Besides, issuing whips to garner votes for a particular candidate is also prohibited.

The presidential elections follow a system of proportional representation through a single transferable vote. Each voter marks out his preference for the presidential candidate.

In case of more than one candidate in the fray, the voter will give his preferences, which is mandatory to give a first preference as the vote in its absence will be declared invalid. If the voter, however, does not give other preferences then the vote will be considered valid. The value of each vote is predetermined in proportion to the population of the state concerned based on the 1971 Census.

The names of possible candidates from the ruling side for the next President of the country included Draupadi Murmu from Jharkhand, the governor of Chhattisgarh Anusiya Ueke, former Speaker of Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan former union ministers Bandaru Dattatrey and Thawar Chand Gehlot. The leaders of the BJP are of the view that opposition candidate won’t be able o get through because unlike previous time when Congress candidate Meira Kumar was got elected as some regional and smaller parties voted for her and this Congress is on a very weak wicket, besides the relations between the Congress and those regional and small players are not friendly.

In any case it appears that the election to the next President of India is not going to be unanimous because the relations between the ruling coalition and the opposition are strained and have reached to the no point of return and the acts of the Prime Minister and other leaders of his party holding opposition particularly the Congress responsible for all the wrong doing that the government have done be it mishandling of Corona pandemic or failing economy.

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