Presidential polls: Kovind got 6 votes in Delhi Assembly, 2 AAP MLAs cross-voted

NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind defeated opposition candidate Meira Kumar by a huge margin to become India’s 14th President. The swearing in will take place on July 25. In Delhi Assembly, Kovind got six votes with four BJP legislators and two AAP MLAs supporting him.

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2017 10:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ram Nath Kovind,new president,India 14th president
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal casts his vote in the Presidential polls. NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind defeated opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar by a huge margin to become India’s 14th President. The swearing in will take place on July 25. (Handout)

Besides four Bharatiya Janata Party legislators, there were two more in the 70-member Delhi Vidhan Sabha who voted for Ramnath Kovind, the NDA-backed presidential candidate who emerged the winner on Thursday.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) suspects the two MLAs who cross voted could be among the five suspended party legislators. Former water minister Kapil Mishra, who was suspended from the party in March for making corruption allegations against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, told Hindustan Times that he voted for the ‘winning candidate’.

“It is obvious that one would vote for the winning candidate. I am glad that my vote got counted in the final result,” Mishra said on Thursday.

Ahead of the polls, the AAP had announced its support to the opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar. Of the total 69 MLAs of Delhi, 67 -- 63 AAP, 4 BJP -- voted in the presidential polls on Monday.

AAP had 67 MLAs initially. However, its strength reduced to 65 after one of its MLA, Ved Prakash from Bawana joined the BJP in March just before the municipal elections. The AAP lost the Rajouri Garden seat to BJP’s Manjinder Singh in the byelection.

Despite the four votes from the BJP that went to Kovind, the former governor of Bihar who won with a landslide victory in the Presidential elections on Thursday, got a total of six votes --- which means that two AAP MLAs had cross-voted. Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar, on the other hand, got 55 votes. Six votes were found invalid.

The AAP, however, reacted to the voting pattern on positively and blamed the suspended MLAs for cross-voting.

“While we know for sure Kapil Mishra voted for Kovind, the other one must be some suspended MLA only,” said Saurabh Bhardwaj, AAP spokesperson and MLA from Greater Kailash. Bhardwaj was among the two MLAs who did not vote in the elections as he was out of town. Another MLA Devinder Sehrawat had stayed away from voting.

“It is in fact a proud moment for us that despite there being no whip, our MLAs voluntarily supported Ms Kumar and opposed those who propagate fundamentalism,” Bhardwaj said.

Leader of the opposition in Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta said the election result indicates that dissent is simmering in AAP. “Arvind Kejriwal is unable to keep his flock intact. He had to change his stand. In the beginning, the party had earlier announced to support Meira Kumar but Kejriwal later urged his legislators to vote according to their ‘conscience’. What does it mean? He was sure that AAP MLAs could cross-vote. This shows clear insecurity in their leadership,” said the BJP leader.

Gupta further added that victory of Kovind is a victory of India’s flourishing democracy. “His victory has further strengthened our democratic system. I am confident under Kovind’s presidentship, the nation will march on road to progress with greater confidence and faith,” he said.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 23:52 IST