After UP, Ram Nath Kovind set to get most votes from Maharashtra
Mumbai city news: More than 190 MLAs, of the total number of 288, are expected to vote for the presidential candidatemumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2017 00:30 IST
Maharashtra is likely to become the second state, after Uttar Pradesh, to garner the highest number of votes for NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. Barring Kshitij Thakur, the Nalasopara MLA from Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, 287 MLAs and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade cast their vote in the presidential election held on Monday. BJP managed to get support from Shiv Sena and most of the independent MLAs.
BJP leaders from Maharashtra have claimed that more than 190 MLAs of the total 288, had voted for Kovind. Ruling party BJP said that there had been some cross voting with some from the opposition also voting for the NDA candidate. BJP leader and parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat said that many Congress and NCP MLAs had voted for the NDA candidate. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, who was in the Vidhan Bhavan during the voting, said that it was a myth spread by the ruling parties and no cross voting had taken place.
Almost all opposition parties in the state, including the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and CPI(M) have supported Meira Kumar. Shiv Sena, which has 63 MLAs in the lower house, has announced its support for Kovind.
The votes of MLAs from Maharashtra is valued at 175, as per the formulae based on the state’s population in 1971.
BJP MLA Medha Kulkarni was the first to vote at 10am, followed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, ministers Chandrakant Patil, Prakash Mehta, NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Patil in the first two hours. Parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat was the last to vote at 4.15pm.
NCP legislators Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramesh Kadam, who have been jailed in graft cases, cast their votes. Both were brought under police protection after being granted special permission by the courts.
The ballot boxes were sent to Delhi for the counting to be held on July 20. “The boxes will reach the counting centre in Parliament late at night,” said Anant Kalse, principal secretary of the state legislature.
“With the support from the independent MLAs and some smaller parties, BJP has the strength of about 136 MLAs. Shiv Sena’s 62 MLAs will vote for our candidate, taking the tally to over 195. We also expect a large number of the opposition MLAs to vote for us,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.
Congress, however, said that the BJP was deliberately spreading rumours of cross voting. “The ruling parties are discontent over government functioning. This is likely to lead to cross voting from the ruling camp,” a statement from the Congress read.