Presidential poll: Delhi MLAs cast ballots amidst claims of cross-votingdelhi Updated: Jul 18, 2017 10:28 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and legislator Alka Lamba comes out of Vidhan sabha after voting on Monday. (HT Photo)
Voting for the Presidential polls concluded at the Delhi Assembly, with 67 out of 69 eligible legislators in the 70-member House exercising their franchise on Monday.
Two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators — Saurabh Bharadwaj and Devender Shehrawat — did not turn up to cast their votes, said election commission officials after the polling ended.
Party functionaries said Bhardwaj could not vote as he is abroad, while MLA Shehrawat, who was suspended from the AAP in September last year for anti-party activities, said he was in Delhi, but chose not to vote in order to register his protest as “the party and the government were working with a bias” against his assembly seat.
“I did not vote in the Presidential election to draw attention of the party towards its policy of bias against the Bijawasan constituency. The Delhi Jal Board has recently stalled a sewage project in my constituency despite the fact that it was being funded under the Centre’s Atal Bihari Urban Improvement Scheme. Unlike other constituencies, funds are not being allocated by the DSIIDC (Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation) in Bijwasan,” Shehrawat said, adding that the government has failed to allot him an office in his constituency despite repeated requests.
There are 65 AAP MLAs in the Delhi Assembly, while the opposition BJP has four. One seat is lying vacant since March since AAP legislator Ved Parkash quit his party membership to join the BJP.
Voting in Delhi Assembly started on a slow pace on Monday. While three BJP MLAs, including leader of opposition Vijender Gupta, were the first to exercise their franchise soon after voting started at 10 am, former AAP minister Kapil Mishra was the first from the ruling party to cast his vote. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was next.
Voting gathered steam around noon after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived to cast his vote and was welcomed by speaker Ram Niwas Goel and a batch of other AAP MLAs. AAP legislator Pankaj Pushkar was the last to exercise his franchise, about 20 minutes before the polling closed at 5 pm.
Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai said that though the numbers are with NDA’s (National Democratic Alliance) Presidential candidate in the country, the situation is different in Delhi.
“In Delhi, the MLAs are with Meira Kumar. We need to protect the democratic values,” Rai said.