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Scenarios for upcoming Rajya Sabha, Presidential and VP elections

Several Rajya Sabha seats go to elections this year. The President and the Vice-President are also due to be elected by August. We analyse the impact of the recent State Assembly elections on the composition of the Rajya Sabha and the outcome of the Presidential polls.

Rajya Sabha – How will its composition change?

Since Rajya Sabha members are elected by the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies, a change in the composition of State Assemblies can affect the composition of Rajya Sabha.  A total of 61 Rajya Sabha seats are up for election in April and July.  This includes 10 seats from Uttar Pradesh and 1 seat from Uttarakhand.

In light of the recent Assembly elections, we work out two scenarios to estimate the composition of Rajya Sabha in 2012.

Members of Rajya Sabha are elected through the system of proportional representation by means of the Single Transferable Vote (STV). In an STV election, a candidate is required to achieve a certain minimum number of votes (called the ‘quota’) to be elected.  (For more details on the STV system, click here)

For instance, in the case of Uttar Pradesh (UP) 10 Rajya Sabha seats go to election this year.  Candidates will be elected to these 10 seats by the 403 elected MLAs of the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly.  Each MLA will rank the candidates based on his/ her preference. After successive rounds of elimination, candidates who are able to secure at least 37  {or 403/(10+1) } votes will be declared elected.

In the new UP Assembly, Samajwadi  Party (SP) has a total strength of 224 members. As a result, SP can elect at least 6 (or 224/37) Rajya Sabha MPs of its choice.  BSP’s strength of 80 will allow it to elect 2 (or 80/37) MPs to Rajya Sabha. Similarily, the BJP with a strength of 47 MLAs can have one candidate of its choice elected to the Rajya Sabha.  This leaves 1 seat.  The fate of this seat depends on the alliances that may be formed since no other party in UP has 37 or more seats in the Assembly.  If the Congress (28 seats) and RLD (9 seats) join hands, they may be able to elect a candidate of their choice.

We build two scenarios which give the likely range of seats for the major coalitions and parties. The actual result will likely fall between these scenarios, depending on alliances for each election.

Of the two scenarios, Scenario II is better for the UPA. It is based on the assumption that the UPA is able to put together the necessary support/ alliances to get its candidates elected to seats with indeterminate status.  Scenario I is based on the assumption that the UPA is not able to put together the required support. As a result, the seats in question get allocated to candidates from other parties/ coalitions. (See Notes for the composition of the coalitions)

Composition of Rajya Sabha

Party/ Coalition Current composition Scenario I Scenario II
Total seats

245

245

245

UPA

93

95

98

NDA

66

67

65

Left

19

14

14

BSP

18

15

15

SP

5

9

9

BJD

6

8

7

AIADMK

5

5

5

Nominated

7

12

12

Others

21

20

20

Vacant

5

0

0

It appears that there would not be a major change in the composition of the Rajya Sabha.

Which party’s candidate is likely to become the next President?

The next Presidential election will be held in June or July.  The electoral college for the Presidential election consists of the elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies. Each MP/ MLA’s vote has a pre-determined value based on the population they represent. For instance, an MP’s vote has a value of 708, an MLA from UP has a vote value of 208 and an MLA from Sikkim has a vote value of 7. (Note that all MPs, irrespective of the constituency or State they represent, have equal vote value)

As is evident, changes in the composition of Assemblies in larger States such as UP can have a major impact on the outcome of the Presidential election.

The elections to the office of the President are held through the system of proportional representation by means of STV (same as in the case of Rajya Sabha).  The winning candidate must secure at least 50% of the total value of votes polled.  (For details, refer to this Election Commission document).

By this calculation, a candidate will need at least 5,48,507 votes to be elected as the President. If the UPA were to vote as a consolidated block, its vote tally would reach 4,50,555 votes under Scenario II (the one that is favourable for the UPA).  Therefore, the UPA will have to seek alliances if it wants a candidate of its choice to be elected to the office of the President.

Scenarios for Presidential elections

(figures represent the value of votes available with each party/ coalition)

Party/ Coalition Scenario I Scenario II
UPA

4,48,431

4,50,555

NDA

3,05,328

3,03,912

Left

51,574

51,574

BSP

43,723

43,723

SP

69,651

69,651

BJD

30,923

30,215

AIADMK

36,216

36,216

Others

1,11,166

1,11,166

Total

10,97,012

10,97,012

Minimum required to be elected

5,48,507

5,48,507

What about the Vice-President?

Elections to the office of the Vice-President (VP) will be held in July or August.  The electoral college will consist of all members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha (i.e. both elected and nominated). Unlike the Presidential elections, all votes will have an equal value of one.

Like the President, the VP is also elected through the system of proportional representation by means of STV.  The winning candidate must secure at least 50% of the total value of votes polled.

Presently, two seats are vacant in the Lok Sabha. If we exclude these from our analysis, we find that a candidate will need at least 395 votes to be elected as the VP.  Under our best case scenario, the UPA holds 363 votes in the forthcoming VP elections.

As is the case with Presidential elections, the UPA will have to seek alliances to get a candidate of its choice elected to the office of the Vice-President.

Scenarios for VP elections

(figures represent the value of votes available with each party/ coalition)

Party/ Coalition

Scenario I

Scenario II

UPA

360

363

NDA

216

214

Left

38

38

BSP

36

36

SP

31

31

BJD

22

21

AIADMK

14

14

Nominated

14

14

Others

57

57

Total

788

788

Minimum required to be elected

395

395

Notes:

[1] UPA: Congress, Trinamool, DMK, NCP,Rashtriya Lok Dal, J&K National Conference, Muslim League Kerala State Committee, Kerala Congress (M), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Sikkim Democratic Front, Praja Rajyam Party, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi

[2] NDA: BJP, JD(U), Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal

[3] Left: CPI(M), CPI, Revolutionary Socialist Party,All India Forward Bloc

 

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