The Telegraph
Saturday , February 8 , 2014
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Poll math, for Mimoh and other young indians

Mithun Chakraborty’s son Mimoh (in picture by Amit Datta) accompanied his father to the Assembly on Friday and witnessed the elections to the Rajya Sabha, a complex process. The Telegraph explains how the numbers fell into place.


Assembly strength: 294

Number of MLAs: 293

Why one less? Shantipur MLA Ajoy De resigned after quitting the Congress and joined Trinamul. The bypoll is yet to take place. So, one slot is vacant.

MLAs voting: 291

What about the remaining two? CPM legislator Narayan Mukherjee is ailing. SUCI (Communist) MLA Tarun Naskar did not vote.

Valid votes: 289

How come? Two votes were declared invalid during counting.


Why 4,817? The cut-off is arrived at by dividing the number of valid votes (289) by the number of candidates (6), multiplying the figure with 100 and then adding 1 to the nearest whole number. So, the cut-off on Friday was 289/6 x 100 + 1 = 4,817.

How can there be a value of 4,817 when there are only 289 votes? In the Rajya Sabha polls, values are assigned to preferential votes. Each first-preference or first-choice vote of an MLA carries a value of 100, while the second preference is valued at 80. So, a candidate can hit the cut-off of 4,817 with 49 first-preference votes.lHow many first-preference votes did the six candidates get?

Ritabrata Banerjee (Left): 57

Jogen Chowdhury (TMC): 50

Mithun Chakraborty (TMC): 49

K.D. Singh (TMC): 49

Ahmed Hassan (TMC): 47

Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi (Independent with Cong and Left support): 37

On Friday morning, Trinamul had the assured support of 191 (186 TMC members and 5 allies). But two votes from this group were cancelled. So, the Trinamul tally should have been 189. But the four Trinamul candidates got 195 votes because of six cross-votes.


OK, that means Hassan, contesting on a Trinamul ticket, and Malihabadi, an Independent backed by the Congress and the Left, fell short of 49. How was the fifth winner decided then?

In order to figure that out, you have to first tabulate the total value of the first-preference votes received by each candidate. Remember, each first-preference vote has a value of 100. Multiplying the total votes secured by each candidate with 100 will give the total first-preference value for each.

Ritabrata Banerjee: 57 x 100 = 5,700

Jogen Chowdhury: 50 x 100 = 5,000

Mithun Chakraborty: 49 x 100 = 4,900

K.D. Singh: 49 x 100 = 4,900

Ahmed Hassan: 47 x 100 = 4,700

Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi: 37 x 100 = 3,700

Left Front’s Ritabrata Banerjee and Trinamul’s Jogen Chowdhury received a considerable number of excess votes, which could be transferred to a second-preference candidate of their respective support group’s choice.

Ritabrata’s excess votes: 5,700 - 4,817= 883

The second-preference votes carry a value of 80 each. So, at least 11 Left MLAs (883 divided by 80) could have given their second-preference votes to Malihabadi. But for some reason, only 10 Left MLAs gave their second-preference votes to Malihabadi.

Not that it mattered. Even if Malihabadi had received 11 second-preference votes, the maximum that accrues from 883, his value (4,580) would still have fallen short of the required 4,817.

What about Hassan?

The picture changed dramatically for

Hassan, Trinamul’s fourth candidate.

Jogen Chowdhury’s excess votes: 5,000 - 4,817 = 183.

Which meant, three Trinamul MLAs (183 divided by 80) could give their second-preference votes to Hassan. Since the quotient was two MLAs plus an additional value of 23, a third MLA was allowed to give the second-preference vote. (In Ritabrata’s case, the surplus value after dividing 883 by 11 was only 3 and hence was not considered for a full vote.)

So, the total value for Hassan (4,700 + 240 = 4,940) crossed the 4,817 mark and he was declared elected.



Your message to your father on becoming a Rajya Sabha MP?

The only message I have for him is thank you! I mean this man (Mithun) lived in this same city in some blind lane and he became a star, an actor, a great dad and a legend and to even think of where he’s reached today... I am so proud of him. He has achieved so much and yet remains so humble, there lies his greatness. Didi (Mamata Banerjee) hugged him and congratulated him and said ‘You are now the member of the Rajya Sabha’. I was awe-struck! Felt like I am in a dream. Imagine the fate of the state depends on these individuals. It was a breathtaking moment for me to witness.

Was it your first visit to the Assembly?

Yes. I was very happy to meet Didi. She was very kind to take a picture with me (laughs). I am a big fan of her!

Did you like what you saw?

Of course, of course, we always see it in the news and read about it in papers. But we don’t know what actually happens inside these chambers. I was very lucky and fortunate to see like-minded, powerful, intelligent people who were sitting there. These people have great responsibilities. Being there inside gave me the opportunity to see how things take shape in politics.

Are you familiar with the complex election process?

I am a little familiar.... Dad went inside. I was waiting in the private chambers. The bell rang and the voting began. So yes, it was a new experience for me.