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Posted at: Jul 18, 2017, 1:01 AM; last updated: Jul 18, 2017, 1:19 AM (IST)PRESIDENTIAL POLL: CONTROVERSY OVER POLLING BY DHINDSA, SIMARJIT; REPORT SENT TO EC

116 MLAs cast vote, Phoolka abstains

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17

Voting for the presidential election was held amid tight security at the Vidhan Sabha here today, even as a controversy erupted over the votes cast by SAD MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) legislator Simarjit Singh Bains.

All 77 Congress MLAs, including Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, 18 SAD-BJP legislators and 21 AAP-LIP MLAs cast their vote. In the 117-member House, only AAP legislator HS Phoolka abstained from voting.

Dhindsa sought another ballot paper after the pen he was using fell on the ballot paper of Congress candidate Meira Kumar, leaving a stain on it. Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) and Vidhan Sabha Secretary Shashi Lakhanpal Mishra told Dhindsa that another paper could not be provided, following which he used the marked one.

The ARO raised an objection when Bains showing his unfolded ballot paper to the polling officers. After casting his vote, he alleged that he was being harassed by the ARO as he had written to the Election Commission (EC) against deputing her. In both cases, the ARO is learnt to have submitted a report to the EC.

The Election Commission had provided special pens to the lawmakers for casting the ballot. Congress polling agent and Sultanpur Lodhi legislator Navtej Singh Cheema was the first from the ruling party to cast his vote. AICC-appointed observer and former Union Minister RPN Singh was also present.

Before polling, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh chaired a meeting of the party legislators in the presence of RPN Singh.

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