The BJP's electoral victory in the recent assembly polls has virtually ensured that its candidate will become the next president of India. The BJP has initiated moves to reach out to the opposition parties on selecting a consensus candidate for the upcoming presidential poll. However, the ruling party does not need support of major opposition parties. The party's victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have mathematically guaranteed it a lion's share in the electoral college, which would elect the next president. President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24 and the nomination process for the July 17 poll began today. The electoral college which elects the president through the system of proportional representation comprises elected MPs and members of state legislative assemblies -- a total of 4,896 voters including 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs. While 233 are elected members of the Rajya Sabha, 543 are from the Lok Sabha. While the Lok Sabha Speaker, an elected member, can vote, two nominated members from the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and 12 nominated MPs in the Rajya Sabha cannot. The value of an MLA's vote depends on the population of the state he or she represents. But the value of the vote of an MP is the same and does not vary. The total value of the electoral college is 10,98,903. Before the assembly polls, the NDA was short of 75,076 votes in terms of value.
But after the BJP's astounding performances in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur, the gap will narrow down to 20,000 votes, an official in the Election Commission explained. If the BJP is able to get the support of parties such as the AIADMK with 134 MLAs and the BJD with 117 MLAs, it can see the person of its choice in the Rashtrapati Bhavan easily. Even if these parties do not support the BJP, it can still manage to scrape through with the help of smaller parties. The voting for the president's position is through a secret ballot, and party whip does not apply. In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP has 56 members, while the Congress with 59 is the single largest party. With wins in assembly polls, the BJP is set to emerge as the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha too next year and the NDA's tally would be close to 100. It would, however, still be short of a majority in the upper house. Mayawati's BSP, which finished a poor third in Uttar Pradesh with a tally of just 19 seats, will not be in a position to send her to the Rajya Sabha again when her current term ends next year.
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