Prez poll: AAP votes for Meira Kumar, HS Phoolka abstains; 2 votes declared invalid
AAP’s ally, Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), which had announced to support NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind, lost one vote after MLA Simarjeet Bains reportedly showed his unfolded ballot paper to the polling officers.punjab Updated: Jul 18, 2017 10:46 IST
Two invalid votes and one absent MLA took the vote count in the 117-member Punjab assembly down to 114 in the presidential polls held on Monday. A Congress statement said all its 77 Congress MLAs, including chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, voted for former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. So did the 19 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Former leader of opposition, HS Phooka, who had declared not to support the Congress-backed candidate on grounds that he had been fighting cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, abstained from voting.
AAP’s ally, Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), which had announced to support NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind, lost one vote after MLA Simarjeet Bains reportedly showed his unfolded ballot paper to the polling officers. His vote was declared invalid by the assistant returning officer (ARO). Simarjit’s elder brother, Balwinder Bains, voted for Kovind.
Even the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) camp was in for a surprise as the vote of former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was annulled. Dhindsa claimed his pen fell on the ballot paper of candidate Meira Kumar leaving a spot on it. He demanded a new ballot paper which was denied by the ARO saying there was no provision for a second ballot. Dhindsa is then learnt to have tick-marked Kovind’s name too and the dual-marking rendered his vote invalid.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal later told mediapersons that the results are a foregone conclusion. “it is a clear-cut win for the NDA,” he said. On Dhindsa’s vote, he said the ink pen slipped from the MLA’s hand. The Congress legislature party met under the CM before voting. All party MLAs, including the CM, had voted by 12.30 pm. The party’s polling agent Navtej Singh Cheema, MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi , was the first among the Congress MLAs to cast his vote followed by assembly speaker Rana KP Singh and local government minister Navjot Sidhu. Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon was the last Congress MLA to cast his vote. AICC appointed observer, former Union minister, RPN Singh, was also present.