Latest on Prez poll: It uses 1971 population census data 

A process will make Duckworth-Lewis or GST calculation look like kindergarten stuff

New Delhi, June 14: If ever you are asked to set a question paper for an examination that no one can clear successfully, all you have to do is pose one simple question, and we guarantee you none will get out of the exam hall with any sort of confidence. The question, of course, is: How is the vote value calculated in the electoral college that elects the Indian President? The election uses, among others — we swear we are not making this up — the population census data of the year 1971 is involved.

Suffice to say, the mathematics behind vote value and the way the votes are tallied after election would make the computation of Duckworth and Lewis score seem simple and straightforward as working out the ‘two tables’.

This week, Crank’s News brings to fore its well-known nous for research for silliness on matters of national importance. Just a confession though: This primer on Presidential election and its related matter is the second best work of spoof on the subject. The best, we have to whole-heartedly agree, is the actual election process itself.

Q: Why do we have an indirect election for President?

Ans: Luckily for us, you didn’t ask why do we have a President. It is a question for which we don’t have an honest answer. We have an indirect election because the founding fathers of the Constitution were sagacious enough to foresee that it is through that process alone that a deadwood like Pratibha Patil could one day make it as the President.  Yes, we have had Pratibha Patil as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Don’t let any one tell you that this country is not great.

Q: But what on earth is this indirect election?

Ans: The President’s post, as you would appreciate, is the highest constitutional office with no real connection with actual people or their lives. Hence they have taken out people from the equation and made only MLAs and MPs eligible for voting in the election.

Q: Explain electoral college and how the value of votes of MPs and MLAs is worked out?

Ans: The value of each MLA is roughly Rs.10 crore. Oops, sorry that  would be Tamil Nadu politics. The electoral college is basically a cosy club of all MLAs and MPs in the country (save for the nominated ones by the President) and the value of each MLA vote is arrived by the total number of MLAs and the population of the State as mentioned in the Census of 1971. This means, you are right, those MLAs and MPs born after 1971 are not eligible to vote. Another important rule that the Constitution has laid down is (through the 83rd Amendment): Arvind Kejriwal’s vote can be cast by the BJP.

The value of MP vote is computed by  dividing the total value of votes of all MLAs of the whole country, divided by the total number of elected MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and then multiplying the answer with πr2. If you get an answer in decimal, you have to, in the true traditions of mathematics, round off a few MLAs and MPs by cutting them.

Q: Give us a brief background on the voting and counting process?

Ans: Are you sure? As the old saying goes, be clear about what you ask for.

Q: Why? We really want to know the counting process.

Ans: Well, since you asked for it, this is an unretouched version from one of the the election guides: “The election happens through the Single Transferable Vote (STV).  Simply casting votes or indicating preference is not enough as the person with the most number of votes or first preference does not win the presidential election. The total number of valid votes decide how many votes will a candidate need in order to be declared winner. This number is divided by two and added to one to form the benchmark of winning. For example, if there are 50,000 valid votes, then the candidate would require (50,000/2)+1, which is equal to 25,001 votes. Should any candidate fail to reach the vote quota, the candidate with the minimum number of votes is eliminated and her votes are transferred to the other candidates on the basis of the second preference. If the vote quota is achieved, a winner emerges but if it doesn’t, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated again and others get her votes on the basis of the third preference.”

If you can make out what the previous paragraph actually means, we suggest that you get yourself checked. Because you are not normal.

But it is also a fact that this is the exact formula that they use to elect the ‘first citizen’ of the country.

Q: How is the Vice President elected?

Ans: There is no real election We think it involves a bidding system. But sometimes they forget that too. Hamid Ansari who became the Vice President in 2007 continues to be in the post as they totally failed to remember what was the process in 2012.

Q: In the event of President dying in harness, what happens?

Ans: They have to wake up the Vice President sleeping in whichever part of his/her office and intimate him/her. The Vice President will then slip into the President’s shoes and somehow make himself comfortable in it. The Vice President, through a constitutional amendment, can get a new pair of shoes later.

Q: What happens when the VP is also not available?

Ans: As it once happened in 1969, the Chief Justice gets to take over as the President. Justice Hidayatullah was the President for a month. In such circumstances of national emergency, the Constitution permits the Chief Justice to not submit a formal leave letter to the court HR department.