It is a side-effect that has now become official, following the notification for the presidential election: the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh gives the NDA such a slender advantage that it can come of use only if the contest is exceptionally close.
Although the vote of each MLA from the truncated Andhra Pradesh valued higher than the vote of each MLA from the undivided state, and although the currently assembly is dominated by NDA partner TDP, it is a small advantage for the NDA.
According to figures give out by the Election Commission Wednesday, each Telangana MLA’s vote carries a value of 132 while each vote from the Andhra assembly is valued at 159. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, each MLA’s vote was valued at 146.
The value of each MLA’s vote differs from state to state, calculated on the basis of the number of MLAs per 1,000 population of the state. The population as per the 1971 census is considered for the calculation. The aim of this formula, as given in the Constitution, is to ensure uniformity among the states. Another part of the formula seeks to ensure parity between the states and the Union — the total number of votes from the states is matched by an equal number from Parliament, divided equally among the MPs.
The extra weight carried by the Andhra MLAs will mean extra votes to the NDA, though the effect on the result will be negligible. The TDP and the BJP have 106 MLAs in Andhra, each of whom gets 13 votes more than s/he would have got in the undivided state. In Telangana, however, each of the eight BJP and TDP MLAs gets 14 votes less than s/he would have got in the undivided state. For the NDA, that works out to a net gain of 1,266 votes, or just 0.1 per cent of the presidential pool, which will not be of any consequence except in an exceptionally tight race.
The electoral pool is of 10,98,903 votes, coming from all the assemblies and Parliament. The NDA controls nearly 48 per cent, according to current strengths.
In Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi is in power with 81 of the 119 seats. The party, however, is yet to show its hand in the presidential elections — in case no consensus is reached and there is a contest. The only other party with a double-figure strength is the Congress with 19 seats.
What the revision for Andhra and Telangana does not change, though, is the combined contribution of the two states to the presidential pool. Between them, the two assemblies must contribute votes in the region of 43,500. This is necessary on account of the arithmetic on which the presidential election is based — the total votes from the two states must be a 1,000th part of 43.5 million, or the population of the undivided state as per the 1971 census.
By the same yardstick, Telangana region’s population in that census was 15.7 million and the rest of Andhra’s was 27.8 million, so they must contribute, respectively, 15,700 and 27,800 votes. In exact terms, and Telangana’s MLAs will contribute 15,708 votes and Andhra’s MLAs 27,825 — a total of 43,533. The undivided state used to contribute 43,512 votes, the difference of 21 being the effect of rounding off each MLA’s vote to a whole number.
The division of votes shows, once again, that it is not determined individually by the size of an assembly or by the population of a state, but rather by the ratio between the two. In Chhattisgarh, which has one MLA for every 1.29 lakh population (1971), the value of an MLA’s vote (129) is slightly lower than the 131 for MP, which has one MLA for every 1.31 lakh population. But in Uttarakhand, the value of an MLA’s vote (64) is just a fraction of that of an UP MLA (208). This is because the population-MLA ratio in UP is more than three times that in Uttarakhand.
The Jharkhand assembly shows the flip side of this equation. Because Jharkhand has one MLA per 1.76 lakh population, each MLA carries 176 votes, which is higher than the 173 in the larger state of Bihar, which has an MLA for every 1.73 lakh population.