As it turns out, it was not just members of NDA who voted for President-elect Ram Nath Kovind.
Cross-voting has been reported from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Goa, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and more importantly, from Gujarat and Rajasthan, where Assembly elections are due later. Although some of the cross-voting was in favour of Opposition's presidential nominee Meira Kumar, most of it helped Kovind.
At least, eight MLAs of the Congress in BJP-ruled Gujarat appeared to have voted for Kovind in the presidential poll. Congress has 57 MLAs in the 182-member state Assembly.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani claimed 11 MLAs from the Opposition party voted in Kovind's favour in addition to the BJP's 121.
In the 182-member House, the BJP has 121 MLAs, Congress 57, NCP two, JD(U) and the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) one each.
In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Opposition Congress and CPM kept themselves engaged in a blame-game over cross voting, with the Opposition accusing the Mamata government of covertly helping the BJP.
Kovind, who was supposed to get votes of six MLAs of the West Bengal Assembly — three of GJM and three of BJP — got votes of 11 MLAs, which has kicked off a debate among political parties in Kolkata.
The cross-voting, however, was welcomed by the BJP, which termed it as a signal of "the TMC fast losing ground in Bengal". Apart from cross-voting, 10 votes from the Assembly were also declared invalid.
In Maharashtra, at least six MLAs of the Congress and the NCP in the state Assembly seem to have voted for Kovind.
Kovind got the votes of 208 MLAs — 23 more than the collective tally of MLAs of the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Kumar bagged votes from 77 MLAs, which is six less than the total strength of the two parties in the Maharashtra state Assembly.
In the 288-member House, the BJP has 122 members, followed by the Sena with 63, Congress with 42, NCP (41), Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP-I) (3), Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) (3), MIM (2), MNS, Samajwadi Party, BBM, CPM and RSP with one each and seven independents.
As many as four elected representatives of Congress in Goa may have cross-voted in favour of NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, who eventually won the election with a handsome margin. Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar took a dig at Congress, saying, "Presidential election is about voting from the heart. This time we had given such a call. The Congress had also done the same thing, so they too must have voted from the heart."
In New Delhi, two AAP MLAs, out of the 63 who exercised their franchise in the presidential poll, indulged in cross-voting, analysis of data shared by the returning officer suggests.
The figure is much less than claims made by the Delhi unit of the BJP on the day of polling, and on expected lines, considering the number of rebel MLAs in the AAP. After casting his vote, sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra had said: "My vote went to one who is all set to become the next president."
On the other hand, in Rajasthan, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said that “resentment” among the ruling BJP MLAs led to cross-voting in Rajasthan where Kumar got 34 votes against 24 of the Congress.
Pilot claimed the cross-voting shows that the BJP MLAs are not “happy and satisfied” with the government. The Indian Express further reported that in Uttar Pradesh, Kumar got only 65 votes when she should have got 73 instead. In Assam, Kumar got 35 votes instead of the expected 39.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Jul 21, 2017 09:01 am | Updated Date: Jul 21, 2017 09:01 am