Presidential election: Sonia Gandhi meets party MPs
Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi today held brief interactions with party MPs from all states on the issue of the Presidential election for which voting will take place on Thursday.
Emerging from the meeting, Union Minister Mr Harish Rawat told reporters that such meetings were held ahead of every presidential and vice presidential election. “Discussions took place about the process and procedure of voting,” he said.
The Union minister dismissed the possibility of cross-voting in the UPA camp when pointed out that the NDA-backed Opposition nominee Mr PA Sangma is pinning hope on a conscience vote in the Presidential poll. “There is no possibility of any cross-voting in the UPA. It is for them (opposition) to take care whether cross voting takes place in their camp or not. UPA is intact,” Mr Rawat said. He also pointed out that NDA ally the JD-U and the Shiv Sena had already backed Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature.
Congress MPs led by AICC in-charge of respective states came to meet Mrs Gandhi in separate batches. Those who met Mrs Gandhi included most of the Union ministers hailing from different states.
Mrs Gandhi is learnt to have told the MPs to maintain caution during voting so that nothing goes wrong and all formalities are met. The meeting took place a day after indications came from AICC that Mr Rahul Gandhi could play a larger role in the party. However, party leaders who met the Congress president made it clear that this issue did not figure in their interaction with Mrs Gandhi today.
Presidential election Process in India:
Whenever the office becomes vacant, the new President is chosen by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of Parliament, the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies (Vidhan Sabha) and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of the President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. Each candidate has to make a security deposit of INR15,000 (US$299.25) in the Reserve Bank of India. The security deposit is liable to be forfeited in case the candidate fails to secure one-sixth of the votes polled.
The election is held in accordance to the system of Proportional representation by means of Single transferable vote method. The Voting takes place by secret ballot system. The manner of election of President is provided by Article 55 of the Constitution.
Each elector casts a different number of votes. The general principle is that the total number of votes cast by Members of Parliament equals the total number of votes cast by State Legislators. Also, legislators from larger states cast more votes than those from smaller states. Finally, the number of legislators in a state matters; if a state has few legislators, then each legislator has more votes; if a state has many legislators, then each legislator has fewer votes.
The actual calculation for votes cast by a particular state is calculated by dividing the state’s population by 1000, which is divided again by the number of legislators from the State voting in the electoral college. This number is the number of votes per legislator in a given state. For votes cast by those in Parliament, the total number of votes cast by all state legislators is divided by the number of members of both Houses of Parliament. This is the number of votes per member of either house of Parliament.
Although Indian presidential elections involve actual voting by MPs and MLAs, they tend to vote for the candidate supported by their respective parties