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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mr Ramnath Kovind is the new President elect - Greetings !!

India has elected ~ may not be, We, the people of India – Mr Ram Nath Kovind is the new President elect.  He has defeated Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar by a huge margin  to officially become the 14th President of India.  Before we read further, do you know or remember Prof KT Shah and his fling at President’s chair ?

Polling to choose the 14th President of Indiaas the incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee demits office on 24 July, was held simultaneously at 32 polling stations – one in Parliament House and one each in 29 state assemblies and two union territories with assemblies. LokSabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra is the Returning Officer for the election, and will issue the certificate to the winning candidate.

The President of India is indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament, the elected members of the Legislative assemblies of the 29 states and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.  As of 2017, the electoral college comprised of  776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs.

There have been 13 presidents of India since the introduction of the post in 1950(the current tenure is 5 years of an Indian President). The post was established when India was declared as a Republic with the adoption of the Indian constitution. Apart from these thirteen, three acting presidents have also been in office for short periods of time. VarahagiriVenkataGiri became Acting President of India in 1969 following the death of ZakirHussain, who died in office. Giri was elected President a few months later. He remains the only person to have held office both as a president and acting president. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, is the only person to have held office for two terms.

A total of 4,896 voters – 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs – were eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of states with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.While the value of an MLA's vote depends on the population of the state he or she belongs to, the value of an MP's vote is the same at 708.  The breakup of  4,896 members is  - 543 Members of LokSabha,  233 Members of RajyaSabha  and 4120  members of State Assemblies.

While the LokSabha Speaker, an elected member, can vote, the two nominated members in the Lower House from the Anglo-Indian community cannot. Twelve nominated members in RajyaSabha are also ineligible to vote.   It is not equal. Each MP and MLA vote has a certain value attached to it. And this value differs from state to state.   Each MP’s vote is 708 : 708 x 776 = 5,49,408.  The votes of MLAs  (4896) totals the same 5,49,408 = 10,98,903.  The winner needs to secure 50% of valid votes polled.

The First Presidential Elections in free India were held on 2nd May 1952.   Dr. Rajendra Prasad won his first election with 507,400 votes over his nearest rival K. T. Shah who got 92,827 votes. There were other contenders too :Thatte Lakshman Ganesh (2672); ChowdhryHari Ram (1954) and Krishna Kumar Chatterjee (533)..   Prof K.T. Shah was known for his active role in the Constituent Assembly (General, Bihar) responsible for framing of the Indian Constitution. An alumnus of the London School of Economics, he was a socialist leader, he was the runner-up in 1st Presidential election in India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th July 2017.

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