New Delhi: The results of assembly polls this week will not only decide who the next chief minister will be in the five states but will also have a bearing on the election of the President of India expected later this year.
The term of President Ram Nath Kovind ends on July 24, and the outcome of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa on March 10 will decide which party or alliance will have a decisive say in the presidential election.
As things stand today, the BJP is comfortably placed to ensure the election of its nominee to the country's top office, but an adverse result in Uttar Pradesh could alter the number game, bringing into play the fence sitters Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) which control a sizeable chunk of votes that could swing the election either way.
Among states, the value of an Uttar Pradesh MLA's vote is the highest at 208, while that of Sikkim is lowest at seven. Among the poll-going states the value of votes of an MLA from Punjab is 116, Uttarakhand (64), Goa (20) and Manipur (18).
The results of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will be important for the presidential election as the value of vote of each of the 403 MLAs of the state is the highest 208 given that it is the most populous state in the country.
The total value of votes of the Uttar Pradesh assembly is 83,824, Punjab (13,572), Uttarakhand (4480), Goa (800) and Manipur (1080).
As per various calculations, the NDA's strength is just short of the 50 per cent mark and will have to rely on support of non-aligned friendly parties to ensure a smooth passage of its candidate to the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been meeting a section of opposition leaders, apparently with an eye on playing a key role in the presidential election.
The opposition camp too has tried to create a divide in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) by floating the name of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a joint opposition candidate in the presidential election, should he part ways with the ruling coalition.
The electoral college for the presidential election comprises elected members of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and elected members of state legislative assemblies and that of NCT Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry. Members of Legislative Councils and nominated members do not form part of the electoral college.
In terms of numbers, the electoral college is made up of 233 members of the Rajya Sabha, 543 members of the Lok Sabha and 4,120 members of legislative assemblies a total of 4,896 electors.
The presidential elections follow the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The value of each vote is pre-determined in proportion to the population of the respective state based on the 1971 census.
The total value of the electoral college, comprising 4,896 electors is 10,98,903 and the winning candidate has to get at least 50 per cent plus one vote to be declared as elected.
The BJP alone has 1,431 MLAs in state assemblies across the country, followed by Congress which has 766 legislators in various states assemblies. The non-BJP, non-Congress parties some of whom already have alliances with either of the national parties together have 1,923 MLAs.
The NDA has 334 members in the Lok Sabha and 115 in the Rajya Sabha. Of the 115 members in the Rajya Sabha, nine BJP members belong to the nominated category and are ineligible to vote, which brings down the voting strength of the NDA to 106. The value of each MP's vote is fixed at 708.