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Presidential poll: AAP MLAs cross-voted, sign of upheaval in party, claims BJP

67 out of the 69 legislators cast their ballots on Monday. 

delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2017 10:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Presidential election,Ram Nath Kovind,Meira Kumar
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and legislator Alka Lamba comes out of Vidhan sabha after casting in presidential election on Monday.(HT Photo)

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed on Monday that few Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators cross-voted in favour of NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind, which was a “signal” to the upheaval in the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.

Leader of opposition Vijender Gupta, who was the polling agent for Kovind, said that AAP MLAs were deeply “anguished” with the stand taken by its top leadership.

“The party had always stood against the Congress. But the Presidential election brought the party in line with the Congress and United Progressive Alliance (UPA). A number of MLAs had already threatened to vote against the UPA candidate. Having realised the same, Kejriwal thought it would be better to give freedom to his MLAs and asked them to vote as per their conscience,” Gupta said after the polling closed.

Soon after the voting started, BJP legislator OP Sharma claimed that “at least 10-12 AAP legislators were likely to vote for the NDA candidate” and it will become clear after the votes are counted on July 20.

Replying to a specific question over the BJP’s claims, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We are supporting Meira Kumar (opposition candidate) … all should vote according to their conscience.”

While BJP’s claims will be tested after the counting of votes, sacked AAP minister Kapil Mishra said he “voted for the candidate who is all set to be the next president”.

Gupta claimed that Kejriwal himself was annoyed with Congress and UPA leadership because they were never invited in the meetings to discuss the election. “The UPA went to the extent of not nominating any polling agent for Meira Kumar in Delhi Vidhan Sabha,” he added.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 00:05 IST