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Presidential election 2017: How AIADMK, BJD and TRS may play kingmakers

New Delhi, June 15, 2017 - The NDA has about 47.5 per cent share in the vote pool for the presidential election. The difference between the NDA and UPA is about 93,000 votes in the Electoral College.

Electing the President of India is a politics of managing numbers. In 2012, when Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the President of India, he received about 69 per cent of the total votes, which is about 10.99 lakh.

A candidate is required to have half-plus-one votes to become the President of India. But, the presidential elections have not been so simple in the past.

As a ruling coalition five years ago, UPA had only 33 per cent of votes of its own. It managed the rest with regional parties ruling in the states to defeat NDA's candidate PA Sangma.


This time, the NDA has about 47.5 per cent share in the vote poll of the presidential election - 5.27 lakh in absolute numbers. But, Opposition UPA and declared anti-BJP votes add up to 4.34 lakh.
The elected members of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and state assemblies are the electors. This means, 776 Members of Parliament and 4,120 Members of Legislative Assemblies are the electors.
While the value of the vote of an MP is fixed at 708, that of an MLA varies depending upon the state s/he represents. For example, a Uttar Pradesh MLA contributes 208 votes in the presidential election, his counterpart from Sikkim adds up only 7 votes in the choosing the President of India.

The recent assembly elections in five states altered the vote shares in the Electoral College along the party lines considerably. The BJP's performance in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa increased the NDA's vote share by 6.5 per cent.

The difference between the two camps stands at a little less than 1 lakh votes. Yet, the NDA has looked hesitant in declaring its candidate while the Opposition camp has been trying for over a couple of months to arrive at a consensus.

Both camps are vying for the votes of the parties, who could be the kingmakers of the presidential election. These are being called neutral votes. In numbers, the neutral votes are about 1.19 lakh excluding about 15,000 votes of Independent electors.


With 5.27 lakh votes, the NDA falls short of the magic number by 20,390 votes. If Independent electors vote with the NDA, it will still require about 5,000 votes, which could be manageable in an election where party whips don't apply. However, it does not seem possible for the BJP to garner support of all the independent MLAs and MPs.

This makes role of neutral party votes extremely crucial. The three non-aligned parties are the AIADMK - ruling in Tamil Nadu, a state that needs substantial central assistance to address its farm issues, the BJD - ruling in Odisha, another state needing Centre's help and the TRS - ruling in Telangana, which is facing farm related issues for years.

Individually, the AIADMK has 59,000 votes while the BJD has 36,500 votes and the TRS holds 23,200 votes in the Electoral College for presidential election.


These three parties have in the past voted along the ruling coalition in Parliament to ensure passage of crucial legislation. Interestingly, in all the three states where they are respectively in power, the Congress is the main Opposition parties.

However, the BJP's growing ambition may force these parties to calibrate their strategy for presidential election afresh. The BJP emerged as the second largest party in Odisha in the panchayat elections in February marking an eight-fold increase in its vote-share.

BJP president Amit Shah has laid out extensive plan to widen the base of the party in Telangana while the BJP is getting more serious in Tamil Nadu after the demise of Jayalalithaa and factionalism in the AIADMK.


With 47.5 per cent share in the vote pool, the BJP-led NDA should sit happy but Shiv Sena may play spoiler for its senior alliance partner.

Given the state of relationship between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, the former may decide to vote differently from the latter like the past two presidential elections. It voted in support of Congress-led UPA candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee in the last two presidential elections.

Shiv Sena holds 25,893 votes - or 2.5 per cent share in vote pool - in the presidential election. If the BJP fails to get Shiv Sena vote for its candidate, the BJP or NDA's deficit will increase from 20,390 to abour 46,000 votes.

In that case, AIADMK with 5.5 per cent, the BJD with 3.5 per cent and the TRS with 1.5 per cent votes may actually decide who wins the presidential election on July 20 and enter the Raisina Hill four days later when President Pranab Mukherjee will retire.

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