BHUBANESWAR: Legislators of different political parties in Odisha seem to have gone with the party line in the Presidential election, result of which was declared on Thursday.
Out of 147 MLAs in Odisha Assembly, 146 had voted in the Presidential poll except Subal Sahu of Congress. Sahu could not cast his vote because of illness. Besides, Independent Rajya Sabha member, supported by the BJD, AV Swami had also voted in the Assembly here.
Sources maintained that votes of 127 MLAs have gone in favour of the President elect Ram Nath Kovind, who was the NDA candidate while 17 MLAs voted in favour of UPA candidate Meira Kumar. Votes of two MLAs have reportedly been cancelled.Though there seems to have been no cross-voting, two votes which should have gone to Kovind have been rejected. However, it is not yet clear whether the rejected votes were from the political parties or Independents.
Kovind should have got 129 votes from Odisha MLAs. While the strength of BJD is 117 in the Assembly, the BJP has 10 legislators. BJD also had the support of two Independents, Satyabadi MLA Umakant Samantray and Champua MLA Sanatan Mahakud. Mahakud was the last MLA to cast his vote.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra said those who were expecting division in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Presidential election must have been disappointed.
He claimed that all the Congress legislators have voted in favour of Meira Kumar, the united opposition candidate. Besides, CPM MLA Laxman Munda and Georege Tirkey of Samata Kranti Dal also voted in favour of Meira, he added.
Stating that the BJD seems to be cracking and there were differences of opinion in the party over support extended to the NDA, which had fielded a RSS cadre whom no secular party can support. In the coming days, if the Chief Minister does not take a clear stand on BJP as demanded by some BJD MPs, the differences in the party will grow and those who believe in secularism will quit.
Naveen congratulates Kovind
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Thursday congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on being elected as the country's President. "Congratulate Shri Ramnath Kovind ji on being elected President of India. We look forward to work under his leadership at @RashtrapatiBhvn," Naveen said in a tweet. The Chief Minister had earlier extended BJD's support to Kovind, the NDA candidate, in the Presidential election describing him as a 'distinguished' Dalit leader. Kovind was elected country's 14th President defeating opposition's nominee Meira Kumar, a former Speaker of Lok Sabha.