The election to choose the 15th President of India started on Monday with former Governor and a Tribal, Draupadi Murmu being the candidate of ruling NDA, and former union minister Yashwant Sinha as the Opposition’s pick.
Nearly 4,800 elected MPs and MLAs will be casting their votes, polling for which is being held at Parliament in Delhi and in all state assemblies between 10 am and 5 pm.
Voting is underway in Delhi, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand, Bengal, Telangana among others.
The President is elected through an electoral college system, where votes are cast lawmakers – MPs and MLAs.
The fixed value of each vote by an MP of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is 700. The vote value of each MLA differs from State to State based on a calculation based on its population vis-a-vis the number of members in its legislative Assembly.
The highest value of votes is carried by MLAs from Uttar Pradesh at 208. Value of each MLA vote from Maharashtra is 175, for West Bengal it is 151, while in Mizoram the value is just 8, its 20 for Goa and the lowest is Sikkim at 7.
The voting for Presidential polls is held on a ballot paper and not on Electronic Voting Machines.
The voting is done on basis of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. Electors have to mark preferences among the list of candidates.
MPs will be given a green ballot while MLAs will get a pink colour ballot. The colour coding is for facilitating counting the value of votes of MLAs and MPs which is different.
A special pen will be given to candidates to mark their ballots.
Murmu has a clear edge over Sinha as over 60 per cent votes are expected to be cast in her favour, as per the strength of the parties that have extended support to her.
She has the support of 44 parties.
Besides ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Apna Dal Sonelal, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janata Dal Secular (JD(S)), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Shiv Sena and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), are among the parties that are supporting Murmu.
Sinha has been extended support by 34 parties including Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Communist Party of India Marxist–Leninist (CPI-ML), All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) among others.
The counting of votes will be done on July 21. The term of office of President Ram Nath Kovind will end on July 24.