The manner in which presidential elections take place, the complexity of vote counting defeats the real idea of proportional representation for, every person of a given area is practically represented thrice- through one MLA and two MPs. Examine the validity of this statement.

The President is elected by an electoral college which comprises the elected members of the Parliament (MPs) and state legislative assemblies (MLAs).  There are 4,896 electors in the electoral college comprising 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs. The voting is called proportional representation because the electors’ votes are worth more or less depending upon their being MP or MLA. In general, MPs’ votes are worth more than MLAs’, and MLAs from bigger states count more than those from smaller ones.  The basic idea is that value of each MLA vote should be proportional to the number of citizens he or she represents.
The validity of the given statement should be jusdged in the light of below facts:

  1. It is true to that in president’s election each citizen is represented thrice- through one MLA and two MPs but this is true only for all states and only UTs of Delhi and Puducherry. The union territories which do not have assembly, are represented only through MPs. Thus, the given statement is partically incorrect in terms of facts.
  2. It is true that the vote counting is very complex but then, it was a better way for constituion framers to choose from various options available so that this kind of election would give the minorities a voice in the election of the President. This is evident from constituent assembly debates and Dr. Ambedkar’s statements.

However, in case of election for President, PR is a misnomer because one seat is to be filled through voting. In fact, neither constitution nor any other law mentioned this method as PR.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"The manner in which presidential elections take place, the complexity of vote counting defeats the real idea of proportional representation for, every person of a given area is practically represented thrice- through one MLA and two MPs." Examine the validity of this statement.

Published: September 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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