The 13th Indian President – Pranab or Sangma?

Looks like it will be a comfortable victory for Pranab Mukherjee as the 13th President of India. Photo Source: Manjul

The stage is set for the election of the 13th president of India tomorrow i.e the 19th of July.  Now it’s clear this time there will be a direct contest between Pranab Mukherjee and PA Sangma.

Background:
Pranab Mukherjee
A Bengali lad who started his public career as a freedom fighter , became a clerk and later a journalist, Pranab Mukherjee‘s rise in the political circles can be attributed to the discovery of his leadership qualities by  former Prime Minister the Late Indira Gandhi. “Man for all seasons”, the troubleshooter and the crisis solver are the terms used to describe him. He is known to be a principled man who stands by his words and is capable of striking a deal across different ideologies. His rise in Indian politics was meteoric and his exit may be even better, the best one can ask for.

This Bengali man loves to live simple and eat simple and had shown his willingness for this honorary post in one of his interviews a few years back. More than 4 decades in Indian Politics without any stain, he emerged as the best option for the Indian National Congress Party considering the upcoming General Election 2014, where a fracture mandate is being expected by pundits.

Looks like it will be a comfortable victory for Pranab Mukherjee as the 13th President of India. Photo Source: Manjul

PA Sangma

Born in Garo Hills of Meghalaya in tribal family, Purno Agitok Sangma started his professional career as a lecturer but his political career commenced as a Congress worker.  He was expelled from Congress party for revolting against Sonia Gandhi. He later formed the Nationalist Congress Party with Tariq Anwar and Sharad Pawar. In 2004 he left NCP and merged with TMC forming Nationalist Trinamool Congress but soon he rejoined NCP.

Though he served the Union Government several times, but his political career came under focus when he was elected unanimously as the Speaker of Lok Sabha (this period saw the beginning of live telecast of house sessions). His headmaster approach when he was the Speaker of House makes that tenure one of the unforgettable moments of independent India. His political stature can be measured by the fact that he remained the member of lower house of the Parliament for eight consecutive times.

Present Positions:

PA Sangma

His candidature was proposed by two major regional parties, Tamil Nadu’s AlDMK and Odissa’s Biju Janty Party and later backed by the principal opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party. But even if the entire NDA stands together the numbers do not work in his favor. There was a small hope that Mamta Banerjee would throw the TMC behind him, but developments late last evening have seen her supporting Pranab Mukherjee. The major setback for him though is that the NCP, the party he founded and then quit  to contest poll is not ready to back him.

Pranab Mukherjee

Though Mukherjee’s nomination vacated the Finance Minister’s office and the seat of Leader of the House, many see that as a blessing in disguise for both the Indian National Congress as well as the country’s economy. In a way it was a step taken to put a stop to Mamta Banerjee’s  ‘then ongoing drama’. The ruling party of country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh is backing his candidature wholeheartedly. Two allies of BJP one the ideological partner Shiv Sena and Bihar’s Janta Dal (United) too have extended their hands to support his candidacy, hailing his forty years long rust-free career.

The Numbers:

Let’s see what the numbers say.

It is the Indian Electoral College which elects the president. The college consists of elected members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies, and Union Territory

Total Members of Electoral College: 776+4120=4896

Total Votes: 10, 97,012

Total Members of Parliament: 543+ 233=776

(Nominated members are not the part of Electoral College)

Value of an MP’s vote: 708

Total Members of State Assemblies: 4120

(MLCs are not the part of Electoral College)

Value of an MLA’s vote: Varies from state to state.

Since there are only two candidates, the one who secures 50 percent of total votes will make his way to Raisina Hill.

Pranab Mukherjee

UPA with SP and BSP( no TMC) 50%
NDA Allies(Shiv Sena + JD(U) ) 5%
Left Groups( CPM + AI Forward Block) 3.7%
TMC 4%
Total 62.7%

PA Sangma

NDA (No Shiv Sena + JD(U) ) 22%
BJD+ AIDMK 6%
Total 28%

These numbers when put together show a clear path ahead for Pranab Mukherjee but remember the constitution allows secret voting. Not backed by plurality Sangma now can only bank on this secret ballot.

Let us watch after all this is democracy.

About the writer: Aditya Ashok is 2nd year engineering student pursuing BE IT, a nation’s patriot and a political junkie.

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