BJP win gives Modi room to pick prez candidate

PM may choose a person to send important social message

BJP win gives Modi room to pick prez candidate

 The BJP’s big win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand will give Prime Minister Narendra Modi room to push for his choice in the presidential election, which is due in July.

Considered the next big political battle, this poll will name the successor to President Pranab Mukherjee whose term comes to end on July 25. The post of Vice President, which is now held by Hamid Ansari, will also fall vacant in August when his terms get over.

Left to Modi, he may like to choose a person of standing whose nomination will send an important social message and show the Bharatiya Janata Party in good light as a party that empowers the weaker sections.

On the other hand, the RSS, the BJP’s ideological parent body, may want to see a person of its leanings to occupy the high office.

The President is chosen by an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament and elected members of the assemblies of 29 states, including Delhi and the union territory of Puducherry.

The Vice President is selected by an electoral college that consists of members of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

The electoral college which elects the President is made up of 4,896 legislators — 776 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members and 4,120 MLAs. Nominated members do not get to vote in the election for the President. All MPs have an equal vote value of 708 while that of MLAs depends on the population of the state. The value of a vote of an elected state MLA is equivalent to the population of the state divided by the number of elected legislators divided – yet again – by 1,000.

Uttar Pradesh has the largest population in India, which is estimated at 217 million as per the last census undertaken in 2011.

As Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state, an MLA from there has the highest value (403). A legislator from Mizoram or Arunachal Pradesh has the least value (8).
After the win in UP and other states, the BJP is stated to be comfortably placed in terms of number of electors.

The BJP has more electors on its side as compared to the opposition because it is in power in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Assam and in partnership with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir and the Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, Nevertheless, the support of big regional parties like the AIADMK (Tamil Nadu), Trinamool Congress (West Bengal) or Biju Janata Dal (Orissa) may have to be factored before the BJP-led NDA decides on its nominee, say BJP leaders.

In the 2012 presidential polls, both the then Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, along with the BJP, had supported Purno A Sangma against Pranab Mukherjee, the UPA’s candidate. Mukherjee defeated BJP nominee P A Sangma by around 40% votes.

The Election Commission has already set the ball rolling for the presidential polls by announcing the schedule for by-elections to fill  vacancies in Parliament and across several state legislatures. Polling to fill three vacancies in the Lok Sabha and 12 in 10 state legislatures, including those in Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand and Sikkim, will be held on April 9 and the process will be wrapped up by April 15.


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