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Presidential elections 2017: All you need to know about today's vote

17 July, 2017 3:29 AM
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1. The President is elected by the electoral college. This body comprises all elected members of Parliament and the members of the legislative assemblies of all states, as well as of the union territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

2. The total strength of the electoral college is 10,98,903 votes, with each Parliamentarian carrying a vote value of 708. The vote weight of a member of a State Assembly is calculated keeping in mind the population of the state he or she represents. A candidate needs 50 per cent-plus votes to win the poll. That translates to 5,49,452 votes.

3. Kovind's victory against Kumar is said to be a foregone conclusion because almost 40 parties, including many from outside the NDA fold, have pledged to support him. Significantly, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (U), will also be supporting Kovind, going against its Bihar 'grand alliance' partners, the Congress and Lalu Prasad's RJD. The non-NDA parties that are expected to vote for Kovind are the AIADMK, the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party, the Biju Janata Dal, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Indian National Lok Dal. The total votes of all those supporting Kovind comed to over 60 percent, which is a lot higher than the required 50 percent.

4. The joint Opposition candidate Kumar has the support of the Congress, of course, as well as of the Nationalist Congress Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the All India Trinamool Congress, the Communist parties, the DMK, and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, among a few others. However, AAP plans to abstain as its leader H.S. Phoolka, who has handled several 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases which some Congress leaders are implicated in, has said he cannot vote for the Congress candidate. The total electoral votes of these parties comes to a little over 39 percent, way below the 50 percent mark.

5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has even wished Kovind "in advance" and has assured him of his government's support. The PM said that Kovind's journey, whether as a lawyer or a politician, has always been non-controversial, and his Presidential poll campaign has been the same.

6. Opposition leader and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has meanwhile appealed for a "conscience vote". She said on Sunday that this Presidential election "represents a clash of ideas, (and) a conflict of disparate values." "In these contests, the numbers may be against us. But the battle must be fought and fought hard," the Congress president said.

Also read: Congress team to take part in SCO Political Parties Forum in China


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