THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: UPA candidate Meira Kumar garned a massive mandate from Kerala legislators in the presidential poll held on Monday, as CPM headed LDF and Congress-led UDF closed ranks while the BJP’s lone MLA O Rajagopal backed NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind, positioning the divide along expected lines in the 140-member Assembly.
In the voting held through secret ballots,138 MLAs are believed to have cast their votes in favour of Meira. IUML legislator Parakkal Abdulla, who is undergoing treatment in Chennai, cast his ballot in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs from the state cast their votes in Parliament. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (Congress) was the first voter and K J Maxi (CPM) was the last MLA to cast his vote at 3.30 pm at the makeshift polling station set up in one of the rooms of the Assembly complex. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cast his ballot as the sixth voter in the second batch of MLAs. However, he did not have to stay in the queue, thanks to a nice gesture from the MLAs.
Majority of legislators exercised their franchise by noon. Independent MLA P C George voted in favour of Meira. Thiruvanchoor, S Sarma (CPM) and O Rajagopal acted as the election agents of the UDF, the LDF and the BJP, respectively. Independent MLA P C George favoured the UPA candidate in the polls. Earlier, the MLAs made a beeline for the polling station when polls opened at 10 am.
KC(M) MLAs arrive as bloc
The six-member independent bloc of Kerala Congress MLAs came together under the leadership of K M Mani and voted in favour of Meira Kumar.
Breather for Meira
The total value of the votes cast by Kerala legislators in favour of UPA candidate Meira Kumar in the presidential election will be 20,976,if there are no invalid votes.
The value of a vote of an MLA from Kerala is estimated at 152. In effect, the final outcome of the votes garnered from the state is expected to provide a big breather for Meira.