New Delhi: Close to 99 per cent voting was recorded on Monday for electing India’s 14th President, the returning officer for the poll announced. The counting of votes will take place on July 20.
Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Puducherry recorded 100 per cent voting.
In Parliament House, the voting percentage was 99 per cent, said Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra, who is also the returning officer for the polls. He said while the sanctioned strength of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha was 776, 771 MPs were eligible to cast their votes. There are two vacancies each in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, while one BJP MP Chedi Paswan does not have voting rights, he added.
In Delhi, 717 MPs were to cast their ballot but only 714 exercised their franchise. TMC’s Tapas Pal, BJD’s Ram Chandra Hansdak and Ambumani Ramadoss of PMK did not cast their votes. Fifty four MPs had sought permission to cast vote in State capitals. These included Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, his UP counterpart Adityanath, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union Minister Uma Bharti.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who is an MLA from Gujarat, had also sought permission to cast his vote in Delhi. Trinamool Congress MPs cast their votes in Kolkata. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first person to cast his vote, Mishra said. He also said that except for Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and Tripura, data has been received from all other States which indicates that the voting was “close to 100 per cent”.
Counting will begin at 11 am on July 20. First the ballot box of Parliament House will be opened, and then, the ballot boxes received from States will be counted on alphabetical basis. The votes will be counted on four separate tables and there would be eight rounds of counting. Thirty two polling stations including the one in Parliament House, was set up in various States. A total of 4,896 voters — 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs — are eligible to cast their ballot. MLCs of States with legislative council are not part of the electoral college.
While the value of an MLA’s vote depends on the population of the state he or she belongs to, the value of an MP’s vote remains the same at 708. The value of an MLA’s vote in Sikkim is seven while in Uttar Pradesh, it is 208.
117 legislators vote in Telangana
Hyderabad: Barring two MLAs, all 117 legislators of the 119-member strong Telangana State Assembly exercised their franchise for the Presidential election on Monday, with Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao being the first person to cast the vote.
The entire process of voting, which began on the dot of 10 am, was gone through in a disciplined manner without any hitches. The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had announced its support for the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind much ahead of the election.
Two MLAs, MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi who is away in London for treatment, and TRS legislator from Peddapalli, D Manohar Reddy, who is hospitalised in a city hospital, were the only ones who couldn’t exercise their franchise.
The TRS legislators, under instructions from the Chief Minister, arrived in special buses from the party office to the Assembly to cast their votes. The pink party legislators showed enthusiasm in casting their vote. The Chief Minister had taken all measures to ensure 100 per cent participation of party legislators and conducted mock polling to avoid invalid votes from the TRS. The TRS legislators completed the process of voting within an hour of the start of polling.
Congress MLAs followed them and completed voting by 11.30 am except T Jeevan Reddy who came later. The BJP members went together to cast their votes. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators exercised their franchise after the MIM voters.
After going through the process, some MLAs sitting In the Legislative Party office of TRS and BJP said they had committed mistakes while casting their vote. Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao asked one party legislator to inquire with the officer outside the polling booth if he had committed a mistake.
BJP party president K Laxman said they might lose two to three votes due to mistakes committed by the MLAs supporting Kovind.
From TRS, Whip Kopula Eshwar and Gampa Goverdhan acted as polling agents, while G Kishan Reddy represented the BJP and TDP, Vamshi Chander Reddy and Sampath Kumar the Congress and Ahmed Pasha Quadri for MIM.
The Election Commission deputed Central Commercial Tax and Industries joint director Sunil Kumar as observer for the polls and Telangana Legislative Assembly secretary Rajasadaram acted as returning officer. The polling boxes will be sent to Parliament house in New Delhi on Tuesday and counting will be taken up on Thursday.