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Does Yashwant Sinha have a chance against Droupadi Murmu?

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Droupadi Murmu: The counting of votes will take place on July 21. The new President will take oath on July 25. (File)

Voting for the Presidential elections will take place across the country on Monday. The around 4,800 elected MPs and MLAs of the country would vote to elect the next President of India. The fight is between NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu and the Opposition’s nominee Yashwant Sinha. Murmu’s candidature is being seen as a trump card played by the BJP as she is a woman and a tribal — two reasons why a host of ambivalent parties rallied behind her. If elected, she will be the first tribal President of India. As of now, the odds are heavily stacked in her favor. Yashwant Sinha, who has exhorted lawmakers to not choose a silent President, appears to be woefully short of the majority mark (50 percent of the total value of votes).

The Presidential elections that began with leaders across the party hailing Murmu’s contribution to society ended with the Opposition taking potshots at her. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, a Sinha supporter, quipped on Sunday that he never heard Murmu’s voice. The Opposition claims the country needs a strong president who can challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Constitutional matters. They claim Murmu, a former BJP leader, would prove to be what they called a rubber stamp. Attacks notwithstanding, Murmu’s election appears to be a foregone conclusion. 

In Presidential elections, the people of the country don’t vote directly. They vote through their representative, which is the MLA or MP. The value of each vote is greater than 1. The more populous the state the more weight its vote carries. There is a formula to calculate the vote value. The fixed value of each vote of a parliamentarian is 708. To find the value of each vote in any particular state, divide the population of the state by the number of MLAs in its assembly, then divide the quotient by 1000. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state with the highest number of legislators, has the highest value of individual vote (208). Since it has the greatest value of votes and has the most MLAs, electorally, it is the most important state for candidates. In Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, the value is 176. In Maharashtra, it is 175. 

How many votes does Murmu have?

The total value of all votes is 10,86,431. A candidate needs at least 50 percent of the votes to be elected as the President of India. NDA didn’t have the required number on its own. But since Murmu is a tribal candidate, she received support from several regional parties, including BJD and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Both these states have a substantial tribal population. Pro-NDA parties like YRSCP have also extended their support to Murmu. With regional support, Murmu seems to have over 60 percent votes (6.67 lakh). She is likely to breeze through the elections. 

The counting of votes will take place on July 21. The new President will take oath on July 25. 

Unlike regular elections, Presidential polls take place using ballot papers. MPs get green-colored ballot papers whereas MLAs get pink-colored papers. 

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