Prez Polls: BJP and SP leaders unite to vote for Ram Nath Kovind

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Union Minister Uma Bharti were among those who cast their votes for the presidential poll here today.

The voting began at 10 am at the Tilak Hall in the Assembly complex.

After casting his vote, the chief minister told reporters that NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind will win the election by a huge margin.

"This is a matter of pride for the people of Uttar Pradesh, the son of the state is going to become the President," he said.

Both Adityanath and Maurya have not yet resigned from the Lok Sabha and are voting as MPs.

Samajwadi Party leader and MLA Shivpal Singh Yadav said he voted for Kovind.

"My open support is for Kovindji, who belongs to Kanpur dehat and is our neighbour," he told reporters, adding, "Meira Kumar did not seek vote from him and he voted on directions of 'netaji' (Mulayam Singh Yadav)".

The family feud within the Samajwadi Party came out in open during presidential polls when Shivpal Yadav openly challenged Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership to support Kovind.

The Samajwadi Party had directed all 47 party MLAs, including Shivpal, to vote for UPA nominee Meira Kumar. But Shivpal not only voted for Kovind but announced in the media also.

Mulayam also voted but he kept his vote a secret and did not talk to media. “Those who violated party whip and indulged in cross-voting have back-stabbed and surrendered Samajwadi Party ideology,” reacted Azam Khan after casting his vote.

Significantly, all the three independents including Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, Amanmani Tripathi and Vinod Kumar also supported NDA candidate. Raja Bhaiyya was a Cabinet minister in erstwhile Akhilesh government and Amanmani was supported by the Samajwadi Party during assembly polls. Raja Bhaiyya is also close to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) lone legislator Vijay Mishra told reporters that he supported Kovind.

After casting her vote, Union Minister Uma Bharti said, "Kovind is winning elections for sure and the margin will be huge."

After the conclusion of voting at 5 pm, the ballot boxes will be sealed and sent to Delhi.

Prominent among those who voted included ministers in Yogi government Srikant Sharma, Sidharth Nath Singh, Swami Prasad Maurya and Suresh Khanna among others.

The NDA has fielded former Bihar Governor Kovind for the top constitutional post, while former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is the joint opposition candidate.

Counting of votes will take place on July 20 in New Delhi where all the ballot boxes will be brought from various state capitals.

The tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.

With PTI Inputs

18 Jul 2017 07:45:12

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