BHUBANESWAR: Presidential polls in Odisha sparked off a war of words between the BJD-BJP combine and Congress with the latter claiming that there was cross-voting from the regional outfit in favour of UPA nominee Meira Kumar.
"As there was resentment in the BJD over the support extended by chief minister Naveen Patnaik to NDA presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind, some of the BJD MPs and MLAs cross-voted in Meira Kumar's favour," Congress chief whip in the assembly Taraprasad Bahinipati said.
Bahinipati's claim was, however, dismissed by the ruling BJD and BJP. State government chief whip and BJP leader Amar Prasad Sathpathy said that the 117 BJD MLAs and the single independent supporter voted in favour of the NDA presidential candidate.
Satpathy ruled out any chance of cross-voting from BJD and alleged Congress was spreading canards without any basis. Dismissing the possibility of cross-voting, leader of the BJP legislature party K V Singhdeo said Congress was trying to cover up for its own weakness.
Leader of the opposition parties Narasingh Mishra said the presidential polls has exposed the tacit understanding between the BJD and BJP. A BJD minister was the election agent of the NDA Presidential nominee, he said and added this has proved beyond doubt the ruling party in Odisha is acting at the behest of the BJP.
Meanwhile, the chief minister, the leader of the opposition in the assembly and Singhdeo cast their votes for the Presidential poll here today. BJD supported independent Rajya Sabha MP A V Swami also voted in the assembly here. However, Congress MLA Subal Sahu could not vote due to illness.
The Congress camp got votes of its 15 MLAs, CPM MLA Laxman Munda and Samata Kranti Dal MLA George Tirkey.