Ahmedabad Mirror | 3 weeks ago | 19-07-2022 | 06:00 am
All the 178 eligible MLAs of Gujarat and one Rajya Sabha Member took part in the voting to elect the country’s 15th President on Monday. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, his predecessor Vijay Rupani, Assembly Speaker Nimaben Acharya and Leader of Opposition Sukhram Rathva of the Congress were among the early voters at the state Assembly complex in Gandhinagar where the polling was held.The BJP has 111 legislators in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, Congress 63, Bharatiya Tribal Party two, NCP one and one independent MLA (Jignesh Mevani).The last one to cast his vote was Congress MLA Mohan Vala, who reached Gandhinagar from Kodinar in Gir Somnath district after performing the final rites of his father, said Gujarat Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Rajendra Trivedi.Father and son duo Chhotu Vasava and son Mahesh Vasava, of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP), also came late in the afternoon to cast their votes. The Vasavas have an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party.The contest for the top constitutional post is between the BJP-led NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu and Congress-led opposition’s candidate Yashwant Sinha.After casting his ballot, BJP MLA and Education Minister Jitu Vaghani expressed confidence that Murmu, a tribal and former Governor, will get more than 111 votes (of the saffron party) as opposition legislators too will support her.Congress’ Sukhram Rathwa said it is obvious the BJP wants to woo Adivasi voters ahead of the Assembly elections by projecting Murmu as the country’s first tribal woman president, he said.In the 182-member Assembly, 178 MLAs were eligible to vote and all of them cast their ballot. Two seats — Unjha and Bhiloda — are vacant following the deaths of sitting MLAs. Dwarka legislator Pabubha Manek was barred from voting because of a pending court case pertaining to his disqualification and Khedbrahma MLA Ashvin Kotwal recently resigned from the Assembly membership.Though members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were supposed to cast their ballot in New Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh, Parimal Nathwani, voted in Gandhinagar. Nathwani said he had taken prior permission from the authorities concerned to cast his vote in Gandhinagar instead of the national capital.NCP MLA cross-votesKandhal Jadeja, MLA of NCP, admitted that he voted for Droupadi Murmu instead of Yashwant Sinha. After casting his vote, he told reporters that he cross-voted and defied his party’s decision to back Sinha. Meanwhile, there were talks of two Congress MLAs cross-voting in favour of Murmu. Though it was not confirmed, it will be known only on counting day on July 21.