Presidential Elections 2017: How Is India’s President Elected?

We were all taught this complicated math, but how many of us remember it? Here’s a simplified version by The Quint.

2 min read

“Vo padha tha na, Class 9 mein...”

Indian Presidential Election 2017 is here and at some point or the other, all of us were taught how the President of India is elected. But how many of us actually remember the process?

It sure involved some complicated math, but we’ve tried to simplify it.


President is Not Elected By the People

The President is elected by an electoral college, which comprises only of elected representatives. Nominated members of parliament, like Sachin Tendeulkar and Rekha ji, are not allowed to vote.

These include State legislative assembly members (including Puducherry and Delhi), and members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Basically, 4,120 members of legislative assemblies and 776 members of parliament elect the President.

Value of an MLA’s Vote Differs Across States

The value of an MLA’s vote varies from state to state, mainly to reflect the population of each state.

To arrive at this value, the total population of the state (1971 census) is divided by 1,000 and the number of MLAs in the state

By this calculation, the value of one MLA’s vote in Delhi is 58, in Uttar Pradesh it is 208 and in Sikkim it is just 7.

Similarly the total value of all MLA votes in Delhi is 4,060, Uttar Pradesh is 83,824 and Sikkim is 224. The total value of all MLA votes is 5,49,495.


Value of MP's Vote Is the Same Across Houses

Only elected members of both houses are allowed to vote.

The value of the vote of a member of parliament is the same across Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, it is 708.

This is calculated by dividing the total value of MLA votes by the number of elected MPs in both houses. Therefore, 5,49,495 divided by 776, which gives you 708.

A total value of votes of all elected MLAs and MPs gives us the final number of votes in the electoral college, which is 10,98,903.

Voters Rank Candidates in Order of Preference

Each MLA and MP ranks presidential candidates in order of preference. In order to win, a candidate must get more than 50 percent of the votes. If no candidate reaches that mark based on first preference across ballots, the preferential system comes into action.

If there is no clear winner, the candidate with the lowest number of votes drops out. Then, the votes given to this candidate are redistributed based on next preference. This goes on till one candidate gets the needed majority.

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Athar Rather
Producer: Kabir Upmanyu

(This admission season, The Quint got experts from on board to answer all your college-related queries. Send us your questions at

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