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The Consitution provides for a Contest not a Coronation

The election to elect the next President of India is now entering the end game. The contenders Pratibha Patil supported by the UPA, Left combine and Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat supported by the BJP, NDA combine offer a stark choice. The third front UNPA Parties comprising of the Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP continue to sit on the fence.

Offstumped takes a look at the electoral college as the election nears the endgame.

First a note on the website launched by Mr. Arun Jaitley and the booklet  titled ‘A compilation of reports and articles appearing in the media about the life and work of Smt. Pratibha Patil’ at BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu’s house. Offstumped is gratified that Mr. Jaitley and other senior BJP members, the Pioneer Editor Chandan Mitra, former personal secretary to Giani Zail Singh, Tarlochan Singh, Sudheendra Kulkarni and Rajkumar Sharma found it valuable to quote from Offstumped on the Least Common Moral Denominator that the Congress is aspiring for in this election. However Offstumped would also like to make it clear that it remains an independent voice of an “aam aadmi” with primary focus on the Indian National Interest. Offstumped is not associated or affiliated in anyway with any political party or platform.

The total electors in the 2007 Presidential Electoral College are 4896 of these 233 are from the Rajya Sabha, 543 from the Lok Sabha and 4120 from the State Assemblies. However as we have been told on many an occassion not all electors are born equal and the value of each vote depends on the population of a given state and the number of seats in that state. The total value of the 776 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha electors is 549408 while the total value of the 4120 state electors is 549474. The winner is also declared in an interesting way based on the total value of the valid votes by dividing it in half and adding 1.

The Congress has been pretty smug about having this election all wrapped up based on the electoral college, the Indian Express reported that the UPA Left Combine has around 5.13 lakh votes while the NDA has 3.54 lakh votes (28,000 of which belong to the Shiv Sena) and the 3rd front about 1.05 lakh votes. In a straight fight on party lines with the 3rd front abstaining Pratibha Patil should be sworn in. However the leader of the Opposition Mr. L.K. Advani in a handwritten appeal to MPs and MLAs has called for a conscience vote opening up the potential for a surprise. The appeal for conscience vote has been criticized by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi  and Senior Member of Parliament Rishang Keishing calling it “invitation for cross-party voting.” and  unethical and unprincipled.

Offstumped Appeal to electors

Through a secret ballot the Constitution provides for a contest and not a coronation. There are those amongst you from the UPA and Left combine who clearly feel voting for Pratibha Patil would be ethically and morally wrong. If you cannot muster your conscience to vote for Shekhawat you could atleast abstain from voting. Your abstention can make a difference and here is how.

It would take only 70 Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha members from the UPA and Left parties to abstain to dent the UPA and Left electoral vote by 50,000 electoral votes.

Are there not atleast 70 of you across the UPA and Left parties who do not see a moral and ethical issue with electing Pratibha Patil ?

It would take just 50 BSP MLAs in UP to abstain to dent her electoral votes by another 10,000

It would take just 50 Congress MLAs in Rajasthan to abstain to dent her electoral votes by another 6,000

It would take just 50 MLAs across NCP and Congress to abstain to dent her electoral votes to another 9,000, there are definitely 50 of you very unhappy with the Pratibha Patil nomination

It would take just 50 DMK MLAs to abstain in Tamil Nadu to dent her electoral vote by another 8,000

It would take just 50 Left front MLAs to abstain in West  Bengal to dent her electoral vote by another 7500, there surely are 50 of you whose conscience is troubled by the Pratibha Patil nomination

It would take just 25 Congress MLAs in Karnataka, 25 Congress MLAs in Andhra Pradesh, 25 MLAs from RJD, Congress in Bihar to abstain to close the gap and make this race competitive.

So all we are asking for is 395 of 4896 electoral college voters to abstain to redeem their conscience and to be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel right about their action in this Presidential Election.

Are there not 395 electors with a conscience, Offstumped asks ?



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