Even as the opposition camp is yet to recover from the shock of 126 MLAs and 17 MPs cross-voting in favour of President-elect Droupadi Murmu, the respective parties will not be able to take any action against those defying the party line as in most cases they cannot be identified because voting in the Presidential election is by secret ballot.
Several leaders from Congress-which has seen maximum number of MLAs from any opposition party cross-voting in favour of Murmu- admitted that there is no way to find out who went against the party’s direction.
Congress was worst-hit by cross-voting in Madhya Pradesh as the opposition’s presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha received only 79 votes against Congress’s tally of 96 in the assembly. But it is difficult to identify the 17 MLAs who went against the party. “It could have been anyone. The culprits may be thinking they will get away clean while tribal MLAs are blamed for the cross-voting,” said multiple sources in Congress.
In Gujarat, Congress not even looking for cross-voters
Asenior Congress leader from Jharkhand, where seven of its lawmakers are believed to have voted for Murmu, said unlike the RS polls, voters in the presidential elections need not inti mate their respective party’s poll observers. “So, it is difficult to single out who cross-voted. ” Jharkhand PCC chief Rajesh Thakur said the party would summon all its MLAs in Ranchi next week and talk to them one-on-one to find out who defied the party line.
Congress’s problems are compounded in states like Gujarat, which goes to the polls later this year. Though seven Congress MLAs cross-voted in favour of Murmu, the party is wary of even conducting an exercise to identify them. State Congress chief Jagdish Thakor said this will amount to ‘doubting the loyalty’ of all the MLAs. “No action is being take n as of now. It is clear that the MLAs who cross-voted will shift allegiance to BJP sooner or later,” he said.
In Chhattisgarh, where two Congress MLAs defied the party line by voting for India’s first tribal President, it is impossible to identify the duo. Almost a third of the party’s 71 legislators in the state belong to tribal communities.
Assam reported the hig- hest cross-voting from the opposition—22—in favour of Murmu. However, there is no clarity on how many of these are from Congress. Leader of the opposition in the assembly Debabrata Saikia and PCC chief Bhupen Bora asserted that it was not more than nine.
In UP, BJP managed to wean away at least five MLAs from SP-led opposition to vote for Murmu. While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav had announced his support for Murmu, there is no clarity about the remaining four MLAs who cross-voted.
In Bihar, eight MLAs from the RJD-led opposition camp cross-voted for Murmu.
In Odisha, a day after MLA Mohammed Mo quim declared his support to Murmu, PCC on Friday served him with a notice, accusing him of carrying out propaganda against the “programmes and decisions of the Congress”.
The cross-voting by a lone MLA in fav our of Murmu in Kerala, which does not have a single NDA legislator in the assembly, has perplexed both LDF and UDF. The unexpected support from the MLA helped Murmu amass suppo rt from all states in the country.
Tripura was an exception, where two legislators from the governing BJP-IPFT voted for Yashwant Sinha.
EC hands over Murmu victory certificate
Officials on Friday handed over the certification of election of Droupadi Murmu as the 15th President—signed by chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey—to the Union home secretary, completing the formal process of the election. The certification will be read out at Murmu’s oath-taking ceremony on July 25.