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Presidential poll: Congress looks to wrest regional support to edge past NDA

The UPA must not only ensure that all non-NDA MPs lean towards its choice, but also confirm the strong support at the state level to gain crucial 9-12% votes.

india Updated: May 21, 2017 08:05 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Presidential elections,Congress,UPA
Congress president Sonia Gandhi with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Patna.(PTI File Photo)

The NDA has an edge in the upcoming Presidential elections and the only way the UPA could overturn it is by roping in regional outfits and independent candidates both in Parliament and states, according to the Congress’ internal assessment.

The chances of a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate getting elected as the President brightened after the BJP’s massive victory in Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for maximum number of legislator’s vote. The BJP won 312 out of the total 403 seats in the country’s politically important state in the February-March elections.

“To counter the number strength of the BJP, the UPA would need to involve in strong persuasion and coalition politics to ensure that a desirable candidate is elected as the President,” said the Congress party’s research cell in a document prepared for the presidential elections.

In case all MLAs belonging to the NDA parties toe the BJP’s line and vote for its desired candidate, the UPA would need to consolidate the support of all its potential allies and other parties at the state level. “If this happens successfully, there will be an approximate range of 9-12% margin at the MLA level in favour of UPA’s favourite candidate,” the document said.

In the document, the Congress has identified Nationalist Congress Party, JD(U), RJD, SP, CPI(M), CPI, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha as its potential allies.

Apart from the Congress, the UPA as of now consists of the Indian Union Muslim League and the DMK.

Even if the UPA successfully consolidates the support of potential allies and other parties in Parliament, the Congress is of the view that a margin of approximately 7-10% votes can still sway the Presidential vote in the NDA’s favour.

The UPA must not only ensure that all non-NDA MPs lean towards its choice, but also confirm the strong support at the state level to gain crucial 9-12% votes.

In the combined table of percentage of Electoral College vote share, if UPA ties up with potential allies and other parties both in states and Parliament, the margin to defeat the NDA reduces to approximately 1-3%.

“This shows that the deciding factor would be the choice of non-NDA parties, regional parties, independent candidates that hold seats in mostly single digits at both Parliament and state levels,” the document said.

“After the first count of votes, if no candidate wins by first past the post system (50%+1), then the importance of the second ballot choice takes over,” it added.

First Published: May 21, 2017 08:03 IST