Home / Politics / News /  Why these elections are important for president polls

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance is short of the halfway mark for the presidential polls in July despite winning big in Uttar Pradesh, and needs help from fence-sitters such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) or the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP). Mint explains

Why are these election results relevant?

The just-ended assembly polls are critical for the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s calculations for the presidential elections. The electoral college that picks the president comprises all members of both houses of Parliament and members of legislative assembly (MLAs) from all states. The five states that held polls add up to 690 of the total 4,120 MLA seats, accounting for roughly 20% of the total vote value. With the NDA just short of a majority mark, the last states to go to polls before July were going to be key in lifting its tally and, hence, defining its ability to get a president of its choice.

Why was UP the most significant in the polls?

Not all MLAs have an equal say in the electoral college. While the value of every member of Parliament’s (MP’s) vote is equal at 708, that of the MLAs varies by state and is based on the average population each MLA represents in their state. Uttar Pradesh (UP) has as many as 403 MLAs, but by other states’ standards, that is too few for its population size. So, an average MLA in the state represents a massive population. This gives MLAs of the state the highest vote value in the country. The state made up 81% of the vote value among the five states that went to polls this year.

Election equation
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Election equation

What does the figure look like in Parliament?

The NDA has a comfortable majority in Parliament with a 57% vote share. Between April and July, 66 elected Rajya Sabha members are due to retire, 30 of them from the NDA. Even if all those seats are filled by non-NDA members, the alliance would still have a vote share of 52% in Parliament.

Why are yesterday’s results  a worry for  BJP?

Ahead of the election results, BJP and its allies had 49% of the vote share in the electoral college. However, after Thursday’s results, the NDA’s vote share has come down slightly. It now accounts for 48% of the total eligible votes. This can be attributed to its performance in UP where it won fewer seats than in 2017. In Uttarakhand, too, it did not do as well as last time. Punjab will have little bearing on its overall vote share as it failed to garner the numbers both this time and in 2017.

What does the NDA need to do now?

The upcoming Rajya Sabha polls are now critical because if the NDA nominees don’t do well, its 48% vote share could shrink further. BJP will most likely have to bank on support from the usual fence-sitters, parties such as BJD or YSRCP. This is how Ram Nath Kovind won the 2017 presidential election with 65% of the vote, though the NDA by itself could muster just 49%. Also, if the government finds a consensus nominee that is difficult to dismiss by Opposition parties, it could still have its way.



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