Bhopal: Amid ultra-tight security, 228 members of the 330-strong state Vidhan Sabha cast their votes on Monday on the assembly premises to elect the new President of India. Besides BJP members, three Independents also cast their vote in support of the NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind. Congress and BSP MLAs voted for UPA candidate Meira Kumar.
The voting began at 10 am. Narendra Singh Kushwaha was the first to cast his vote while BSP’s Balbir Singh Dandotia was the last. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his ministerial colleagues exercised their franchise before the commencement of the proceedings of the House. Many MLAs of both the parties were casting their votes for the first time in Presidential elections.
The voting was to continue till 5 pm but as all the MLAs had exercised their franchise by 3 pm, it ended two hours before schedule. Due to the death of Chitrakoot MLA Prem Singh, a vacancy has been created in the House. Besides, Narottam Mishra could not cast his vote owing to disqualification by EC. All others cast their votes.
The biggest highlight of the polling was Mishra not being able to cast his vote. Mishra had moved a single- and a two-judge bench of the Delhi HC against the EC order. But both his pleas were rejected.
Chief minister Chouhan said Kovind’s victory was certain. Leader of opposition Ajay Singh said he hoped that the MLAs must have voted according to the voice of their conscience.
The ballot box was dispatched to Delhi in the evening.