A meeting of opposition parties was held in Delhi on Wednesday 15 May in an attempt to choose a common candidate from the opposition side in the presidential elections to be held on 18 July. 16 parties participated in the meeting but the name of the candidate could not be decided.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had suggested the name of NCP chief Sharad Pawar but Pawar himself refused to contest the election, according to NDTV. Media reports claim that Banerjee later suggested the names of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi. But these names have not been agreed upon yet.
But building a consensus among opposition parties on the name is only one link in the challenge. The big question is whether the opposition has the numbers to get its candidate to victory. For this, it is necessary to understand the entire process of presidential elections.
How is the President of India elected?
According to Article 54 of the Constitution, the President is elected by an electoral college consisting of all elected members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, all elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all states and Delhi, Puducherry, and Jammu and Kashmir.
Voting is secret and takes place on the basis of proportional representation as well as on the basis of the single transferable method. At present, the total strength of the electoral college is about 10.86 lakh votes, in which the constituents of BJP and NDA have about 5.26 lakh, i.e. about 48 percent, votes.
To win the election, the BJP and its allies need more than 50 percent votes, ie the support of some other parties. BJD, YSRCP, and AIADMK are the parties that have more numbers in the electoral college and are neither officially part of the ruling party nor with the opposition.
BJP claims that it has the support of all these three parties and even if this happens, BJP will need more votes to win. That is why the opposition parties are also trying their best that more and more parties to come together and field a common candidate who can give a tough competition to the NDA candidate. Now it has to be seen who comes out as the common candidate of the opposition.