'Went by conscience': NCP, Congress MLAs vote for Droupadi Murmu in Presidential poll

Murmu, an ex-governor of Jharkhand, is up against former Hazaribag MP Yashwant Sinha
Last Updated 18 July 2022, 10:56 IST

NCP MLA Kamlesh Singh on Monday took many in the political circle by surprise as he announced that he has voted for NDA Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu.

Elsewhere in Odisha, acting against party line, senior Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim also cast his vote in favour of Murmu, who is a tribal leader from the state.

Murmu, an ex-governor of Jharkhand, is up against former Hazaribag MP Yashwant Sinha, the joint candidate of non-BJP parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the NCP.

Both Singh and Moquim said they went by their “conscience” while exercising their franchise.

"The MLAs have their independence to choose the suitable candidate for the presidential post. As an Odia, I thought that I will feel proud if my vote will help Murmu to win the election," said Moquim, an MLA from Barabati-Cuttack constituency.

"As whip cannot be applicable in the Presidential election, I voted as per the dictates of my conscience," said Moquim. The MLA also informed that many of his well-wishers, friends and some big personalities have requested him to support Murmu.

According to Assembly sources, 50 of the state’s 81 legislators cast their votes for the Presidential elections in the Tribunal Hall of the House till 1 pm in Jharkhand.

As many as 28 legislators of the NDA, including two of the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party, reached the Assembly premises in a bus to exercise their franchise.

The MLAs, under the leadership of former chief minister Babulal Marandi and AJSU Party chief Sudesh Mahto, showed victory signs, as some of them said they were elated over the fact that Droupadi Murmu, a tribal woman, was set to get elevated to the top constitutional post in a first.

"NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu will get the support of at least 65 legislators in Jharkhand under any circumstance as many Congress legislators are also going to listen to their conscience and vote for her,” BJP MLA Biranchi Narayan claimed.

BJP legislators Anant Ojha and Bhanu Pratap Shahi were among the early ones to exercise franchise.

"I was the first one to vote to elect the first citizen. It is a matter of great pride for me," Ojha said.

Shahi said, “We strongly believe Murmu will work for the betterment of the society including the poor, downtrodden and Dalits.”

The saffron camp’s ailing Sindri MLA, Indrajeet Mahto, however, could not cast his vote as he was undergoing treatment in hospital.

The ruling JMM, which runs a coalition government in the state with the Congress and the RJD, had initially backed Sinha only to receive flak from the tribal community to which both Murmu and the party’s executive President and Chief Minister Hemant Soren belong. The party then pledged support for the NDA nominee.

(Published 18 July 2022, 10:38 IST)

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