Elections in 2017 Part 3- The Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections

The term of the incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee ends on 24/07/2017. The term of the incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari ends a little later, on 10/08/2017. In 2012, the elections were held less than a week before the terms ended.

The electoral college for electing the President includes all elected (not nominated) MLAs and MPs of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. It is somewhat more complicated than that of the US, as MLAs of different states have different weightages determined by a complicated formula. See this for an explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(India)

For the Vice-Presidential election it is simpler, as the electorate consists of only the (elected) members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. They have a single vote each, without the complication of weightages:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_vice-presidential_election,_2012#Electoral_College

As we have discussed earlier, assembly elections to two major states (UP and Punjab) and three smaller states (UK, Goa and Manipur) will be held in the first few months of 2017. There may be significant changes in the party composition of the assemblies of UP and Punjab. It will be interesting to see the composition of the electoral college in July, and whether the NDA government will be able to get its preferred candidate elected.

As for the Vice-Presidential election, we know that the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will not change significantly so the composition of the electoral college is virtually the same now. In fact, only the one Rajya Sabha seat from Goa may change hands by the time of the Vice-Presidential election, while elections for the 9 other Rajya Sabha seats are likely to be held later in August.

No serious proposals for candidates for these positions have been mentioned in the media so far.

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Looking ahead to India’s elections in 2017-Part 1

These are the Assembly elections due to take place in 2017:

state-assembly-2017

Knowing the end dates of the Assembly terms and the way that the Election Commission has handled things in the recent past, the approximate dates of polling can be predicted. It is too early to make serious predictions on the results.

I have included a column showing the number of Lok Sabha seats for each state. This is to keep things in perspective; even HP and UK do not account for even 1% of the Lok Sabha strength. Thus what happens in these states plus Goa and Manipur are not very significant on the national level. The real battleground is UP and Punjab now, and Gujarat later in the year.

So what difference do these results make to the larger picture? In terms of the Presidential election in July, not much. In terms of the composition of the Rajya Sabha, again not much because the seats up for election in 2017 are primarily from Bengal and Gujarat where there is not likely to be much change in the Rajya Sabha members elected. I will cover this in more detail later.

What is significant is the likelihood of a change in government in UP and Punjab, and probably Uttarakhand and Himachal as well. Even if there is a change in Goa and Manipur, it may not matter on the larger scale unless the AAP does unexpectedly well in Goa. What impact these changes will have on the functioning of the Central government are very speculative at the moment.

To be continued.