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Posted at: Jul 18, 2017, 1:56 AM; last updated: Jul 18, 2017, 10:39 AM (IST)

99% turnout for President poll, chinks to fore in Oppn

Counting on July 20

  • Counting will begin at 11 am on July 20. Parliament’s ballot box will be opened first, followed by those of states in alphabetical order
  • 10 states, including Haryana, HP, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Assam and Bihar, recorded 100% voting
99% turnout for President poll, chinks to fore in Oppn
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu (extreme left) waits in a queue along with other MPs to cast his vote during the presidential election at Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday. Mukesh Aggarwal

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17

Amid reports of cross-voting in favour of BJP-led NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, bringing to fore fissures in the Opposition unity, nearly 99 per cent lawmakers across the country voted to elect India’s 14th President today.

In a setback to Opposition nominee Meira Kumar, senior Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav chose to go with Kovind, while in Tripura, a rebel Congress legislator and six Trinamool Congress legislators voted against her.

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In Punjab, former leader of Opposition HS Phoolka had already indicated he would not support the Opposition candidate backed by the Congress, which, he said, “continued to shield perpetrators of the 1984 riots”.  Given that no party whip is issued in presidential elections, MLAs close to Phoolka are believed to have followed suit.

That Kovind would be the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is a foregone conclusion. Senior BJP leaders say the main point of interest on July 20, when the results are announced, will not be who won, but the difference in votes polled by Kovind and Kumar.

They say he may draw around 70 per cent votes given the way lawmakers from some Opposition parties supporting Kumar also “voted against her”. The BJP and allies hold around 63 per cent of the total vote value of the electoral college.

For BJP chief Amit Shah, who supervised Kovind’s election reachout, the percentage of votes was another way to reaffirm his party’s reach and supremacy and the disarray in the Opposition camp ahead of the 2019 elections. He is believed to have asked party chief ministers to reach out to Opposition legislators in favour of Kovind.


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