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Explained: #MaharashtraPolitics This is how members of the Legislative Councils are elected

The Legislative Council of the state is constituted as per Article 168 of the Indian Constitution. The Constitution states that the total number of Members in the Legislative council of a state shall not exceed 1/3rd of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly. Let’s first understand the administrative setup of the State Government.

The Legislative Councils in states are very different from the Legislative Assemblies. The Councils play the role of Rajya Sabha in the states. It consists of members elected through a process of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system.

Article 171 of the constitution of India defines the composition of the councils. The strength of any council shall not exceed 1/3rd of the strength of the state assembly. But for smaller states, the minimum strength of the council can be forty (40). The members of the Legislative Councils comprise people elected through five different constituencies.

The Legislative Council:
  • One-third (1/3rd) of the members are elected by representatives of the Local Authorities (like Municipalities, Zilla Parishads, Block Parishads etc)

  • One-third (1/3rd) of the members are elected by members of the Legislative Assembly (the same person can’t be a member of both the houses)

  • One-twelfth (1/12th) of the members are elected by the Graduates in the state

  • One-twelfth (1/12th) of the members are elected by the Teachers in the state

  • The remaining members are nominated by the Governor. Those nominated by the Governor should have special knowledge or practical experience in Literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.

The Election Process

The election process follows a system of Single Transferable Vote (STV). Let’s understand how it operates:

In STV, each voter ranks the list of candidates in order of preference. 1 is the most preferred candidate, 2 is the second most preferred and so on. It is like below:

In an STV election, a candidate requires a minimum number of first preference votes. Let’s calculate the quota for single-seat:

  • Add the values of all the valid votes (1 value = 1 vote)

  • Divide this by 2

  • Add 1 to the quotient above ignoring the remainder. The resulting number is the quota of first preference votes required to be elected.

Votes needed to win = ( Valid votes cast / Seats to fill + 1) + 1

Let’s take an example of the process of counting:

Suppose, in an election to fill out a vacancy, there are 4 candidates and the total number of valid votes is 1235.

Let’s calculate the quota of first preference votes:

1235/2 = 617 + 1 = 618 (the quota of first preference votes required for victory)

This means any candidate securing a minimum of 618 first preferential votes gets elected. Let’s take an instance where no one secures the quota.

In the above instance, candidate X will be eliminated because he has the least preference votes. Now, his votes will be transferred to the other 3 candidates. The transfer takes place in proportion of 2nd preference votes received by the other 3 candidates in those ballots with a first preference vote to X.

In the above example, out of 235 ballots with a first preference vote to candidate X, 170 of them had Candidate Z as a 2nd preference, 35 had Candidate A and the remaining to Candidate Y as the 2nd preference. Hence the transfer takes place in that proportion.

After round two, Candidate Z had 620 votes, which is more than the required quota. Candidate Z is declared elected and the remaining 3 are eliminated.

This is how the vote-counting process takes place. Do you find this information as a value addition? Let us know!

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