The Election Commission of India has scheduled the date for the 16th Presidential election on July 18 and the counting of votes would be held on July 21, if needed. A total of 4,809 electors comprising MPs and MLAs will vote to elect Ram Nath Kovind's successor. Kovind’s tenure will be ending on July 24 following which the new President will be sworn in on July 25.
Who can file nominations?
The EC will issue a notification in this regard on June 15. The aspiring candidates will file their notifications after the notification with June 29 as the deadline. Candidates would need 50 electors as proposers and 50 others as seconders. The candidate would need to deposit an amount of ₹15,000 as security.
The candidate must be a citizen of India and should have completed the age of 35 years, besides being qualified for election as a member of the House of the People.
The person will not be eligible if he/she holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority that is controlled by any of the state governments.
Who can vote and how does the voting happen?
According to Article 55 of the Constitution, the President of India is elected by members of the Electoral College consisting of elected Members of Parliament and of all the state assemblies including the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The total number of electors for the election will be 4,809 – 776 MPs and 4,033 MLAs. These include 233 Rajya Sabha members and 543 from Lok Sabha.
While the MPs will cast their vote in Parliament, the MLAs will do so in their respective state assemblies.
For marking the vote, the Commission will supply particular pens. The pen will be given to the electors in the polling station by the designated official when the ballot paper is handed over. Electors have to mark the ballot only with this particular pen and not with any other pen. Voting by using any other pen shall lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting.
The voting follows the system of proportional representation utilising a single transferable vote system and secret ballots.
Nominated members of Parliament, state assembly and members of legislative council are not eligible to vote. Importantly, the members who are nominated to either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of State including NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College.
What is the electoral formula?
This year, the value of the vote of an MP has been fixed at 700. The Election Commission stated, "The value of the vote of an MP will be 700. Those in preventive detention can vote and those in jail will have to apply for parole and if they get parole, they can vote."
Among states, the value of the vote of MLAs differs because of the strength of the Legislative Assembly and the population in the respective states. However, to maintain uniformity in the representation of the value among MLAs, a formula is applied based on the population of the state; The total population of the state (as per 1971 census) / Total number of elective seats in the Legislative Assembly x 1000= Value of votes of members of Electoral College (MLAs).
Key takeaways of the EC
Scrutiny of the nominations will take place on June 30 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be July 2.
Political parties cannot issue any whip to their MPs and MLAs in the matter of voting in the Presidential election.
The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, will appoint the Secretary-General of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, by rotation, as the returning officer.