Opposition Left Embarrassed As MLAs, MPs Cross-Voted For Kovind
Reports suggest that there have been cases of cross-voting in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Punjab.
India’s 14th President Ram Nath Kovind was elected to office with over 65 percent mandate. However, Opposition parties, including the Congress played an important role in the BJP-led NDA candidate’s win.
The results show that the polling in the election was marked by cross-voting in various states.
According to Bhupendra Yadav, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP, a total of 116 MPs and MLAs from the parties that were not backing Kovind for presidency voted in his favour.
I would like to thank 116 MPs and MLAs of the other side who listened to their conscience and voted in favour of Kovind ji.Bhupendra Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP
In Gujarat, only 49 of the 57 Congress MLAs voted for Meira Kumar, the candidate backed by their party, reported NDTV. In an embarrassment for Congress, 8 MLAs belonging to the party’s Shankarsinh Vaghela-faction voted for Kovind to show their revolt to their party high command, NDTV added.
Vaghela, the 77-year-old, has not only expressed openly his displeasure with the Congress high command, but is also organising a public function to convey his “anger” over Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, the report said.
What is more concerning for the Congress is the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, if the cross-voting phenomenon persists within its ranks, Swati Chaturvedi wrote in the NDTV article.
In Uttar Pradesh, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh claimed that some Samajwadi party’s MLAs along with Shivpal Yadav defied Akhilesh Yadav’s directions and voted in support of Kovind, The Indian Express reported.
As many as four elected representatives of the Congress party might have cross-voted in favour Kovind in Goa.
Kovind polled 500 votes as compared to 220 polled by Meira Kumar in Goa, with the former garnering 69.4 per cent of the votes. One vote each from both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was invalidated due to technical issues.
The Congress has conceded that four votes from its kitty had gone in Kovind's favour.
“It appears that there was cross-voting. This should not have happened. It is wrong. We will take precautions in the future (upcoming Rajya Sabha election) that such a thing does not happen,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar congratulated Kovind on being elected the 14th President of India, while also taking a dig at the Congress for not being able to shepherd its flock.
“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,” Parrikar said, adding that one vote from the NDA camp had been invalidated due to “some technical reason”.
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.
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.” The data also shows that although a total of 67 lawmakers had cast their vote, six were declared invalid. Two AAP MLAs did not vote.
Other States Which Cross-Voted
The other states from where Kovind got votes from the rival camp included West Bengal, where the BJP is locked in a bitter, and often bloody, fight with the ruling TMC. Kovind clinched the votes of 11 MLAs in the state, five more than NDA's tally of six.
He also managed to secure votes of seven lawmakers in the Left-ruled Tripura, where BJP or its NDA allies do not have any MLA. These included six TMC MLAs who are likely to join the BJP. In Maharashtra, the NDA nominee got 20 votes more than the alliance's strength of 188 in the state assembly.
Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are among other states that witnessed cross-voting in Kovind's favour.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS, NDTV and The Indian Express)
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