Presidential Election 2017: Here's a primer on 17 July polls which will decide Pranab Mukherjee's successor

By Vibhor Relhan

The current President will complete his five-year term in July 2017. The Election Commission has announced that elections for the next President will be conducted on 17 July. These elections will be on the basis of single transferable voting (STV) that results in (approximately) proportional representation. The President is elected by the representatives of the people through an Electoral College.

This Electoral College consists of:

- the elected members of both Houses of Parliament (543 in Lok Sabha and 233 in Rajya Sabha) and
- the 4120 elected members of all the 31 Legislative Assemblies of the States (MLAs) including NCT of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

In the college each MP and MLA is allocated a value to determine the vote value of an MLA, it is calculated on the basis of the population of the state to which the MLA belongs in 1971. Hence, the value of the vote of a MLA remains the same within his/her state but varies across different states. For instance, the value of an Uttar Pradesh MLA is 208 while that of a Sikkim MLA is 7. The sum total of the value of all MLAs’ votes is equal to the value allocated to votes of all the MPs combined. All the MPs are allocated the same value for their vote.

Value of vote of a MLA is calculated as: Total population of the MLA’s state in 1971 / (No. of elected MLAs in the state x 1000)
Value of vote of a MP is calculated as: Total value of votes of 4120 MLAs/776 (Total Number of MPs)

Every voter has one vote. Every voter can mark as many preferences, as there are candidates contesting the election. It is necessary for at least the first preference to be marked for the vote to be considered valid. A candidate needs to win the required number of votes (quota) to be elected. If no one achieves the required quota after the first round of counting the value of first preference votes, the candidate with the lowest value of votes is eliminated.

His/her votes are then transferred to the respective second preference mentioned (if any) on the votes he received. If no one still achieves the required quota, then the process will repeat till either:

- a candidate achieves the required quota or
- all candidates, except one, are eliminated.

Presidential Elections (July, 2017)

Let us assume that:
- no state assembly or Lok Sabha will be dissolved till July,
- no defections occur,
- all alliances remain same for electing Presidential candidate, and
- all MLAs and MPs vote along party lines (though whips cannot be issued for Presidential elections).

The electoral college consists of all the elected 776 MPs and 4120 MLAs. Table 1 depicts the statement of value of vote of each state’s MLA and every MP for the elections.

Table 1: Statement of value of votes of elected members of the state legislative assemblies and Parliament 2017

Name of StateNo of Assembly seats (elective)Population (1971 Census)Value of vote of each MLATotal value of votes for the statePercentage of Total Value of Votes
Total4120549302005 54949550.00%
1Andhra Pradesh17527800586159159 × 175 = 278252.53%
2Arunachal Pradesh604675118008 ×060 = 4800.04%
3Assam12614625152116116 ×126 = 146161.33%
4Bihar24342126236173173 ×243 = 420393.83%
5Chhattisgarh9011637494129129 ×090 = 116101.06%
6Goa4079512020020 ×040 = 8000.07%
7Gujarat18226697475147147 ×182 = 267542.43%
8Haryana9010036808112112 ×090 = 100800.92%
9Himachal Pradesh68346043451051 ×068 = 34680.32%
10Jammu & Kashmir*87630000072072 ×087 = 62640.57%
11Jharkhand8114227133176176 ×081 = 142561.30%
12Karnataka22429299014131131 ×224 = 293442.67%
13Kerala14021347375152152 ×140 = 212801.94%
14Madhya Pradesh23030016625131131 ×230 = 301302.74%
15Maharashtra28850412235175175 ×288 = 504004.59%
16Manipur60107275318018 ×060 = 10800.10%
17Meghalaya60101169917017 ×060 = 10200.09%
18Mizoram403323908008 ×040 = 3200.03%
19Nagaland605164499009 ×060 = 5400.05%
20Odisha14721944615149149 ×147 = 219031.99%
21Punjab11713551060116116 ×117 = 135721.24%
22Rajasthan20025765806129129 ×200 = 258002.35%
23Sikkim322098437007 ×032 = 2240.02%
24Tamil Nadu23441199168176176 ×234 = 411843.75%
25Telangana11915702122132132 ×119 = 157081.43%
26Tripura60155634226026 ×060 = 15600.14%
27Uttarakhand70449123964064 ×070 = 44800.41%
28Uttar Pradesh40383849905208208 ×403 = 838247.63%
29West Bengal29444312011151151 ×294 = 443944.04%
30Nct Of Delhi70406569858058 ×070 = 40600.37%
31Puducherry3047170716016 ×030 = 4800.04%

Source: ECI, PRS

A) Value of each vote of members of parliament: total members Lok Sabha (543) + Rajya Sabha (233) = 776
Value of each vote = 549474/776 = 708

B) Total Value of Votes of 776 Members of Parliament = 708 X 776 = 5,49,408
C) Total Electors for The Presidential Election = MLAS (4120) + MPs (776) = 4,896
D) Total Value of 4896 Electors for The Presidential Election 2017 = 549474 + 549408 = 10,98,903

Determining the Quota:

The total value of votes of the electoral college is divided by two and one is added to the quotient to determine the required quota for victory. Hence, the quota is calculated as:

Quota = (549408+549495)/2 + 1
= 1098903/2 + 1
= 549451+1
= 549452

Based on the knowledge of seats held by each party in the respective states and Parliament, and the value of votes of each MP and MLA from Table 1, we have calculated the total value of votes of each party in Table 2:

Table 2: Party-wise strength in terms of total value of votes


Total SeatsTotal Value of Votes

Percentage of Total Value of Votes

1Bharatiya Janata Party172843353639.5%
2Indian National Congress90216282914.8%
3All India Trinamool Congress258644475.9%
4All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam189592245.4%
5Biju Janata Dal145372573.4%
6Telugu Desam127321902.9%
7Communist Party Of India (Marxist)154264742.4%
8Samajwadi Party72263662.4%
9Shiv Sena84258932.4%
10Janta Dal (United)96207361.9%
11Telangana Rashtra Samithi85209351.9%
12Rashtriya Janata Dal87187961.7%
13Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam95185281.7%
14Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party76175741.6%
15Nationalist Congress Party60156241.4%
17Bahujan Samaj Party3493990.9%
18Aam Aadmi Party8989220.8%
19Janta Dal (Secular)4678200.7%
20Shiromani Akali Dal2368080.6%

Source: ECI, PRS;

Note: Others include all parties with less than 5,500 votes or 0.5% of the total vote share. Party strengths calculated according to the seat tally at the time of the latest assembly election in any given state. By-elections have been taken into account. Mergers of parties has been taken into account. Defections have been accounted for only in Karnataka (KJP to BJP), Sikkim (SKM to SDF) and Arunachal (INC to PPA to BJP) since they were significant in number. Not accounting for other minor defections does not affect the outcomes significantly.

A candidate who gets 549,452 votes will win the election.  If no candidate gets to this mark, the second and further preferences may be counted until the mark is reached or everyone else is eliminated.  While the BJP falls short of the quota by 1,15,896 votes, the shortfall would be 23, 278 votes if all NDA allies support its candidate. The position of the NDA (5,26,174) and UPA (2,10,674) is depicted in the following figure at the two ends of the chart. All other major parties and independents are marked in the Middle.


The author is a program associate at PRS Legislative Research. He manages engagement with state legislators at PRS.

Published Date: Jun 15, 2017 12:41 pm | Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 12:40 pm

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