Voting in the Maharashtra Vidhan Bhawan for the presidential elections, 287 MLAs out of a total 288 exercised their franchise Monday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who cast his vote at 11 am, said he was confident NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind would get the majority of votes from Maharashtra. BJP’s ally Shiv Sena is supporting Kovind.
Political managers in the BJP said Kovind was likely to get the votes of more than 200 MLAs in the state. Together, the BJP with 122 MLAs and Shiv Sena with 63 MLAs make up 185 MLAs. Besides, seven Independent and 17 Opposition MLAs are likely to have voted for the NDA candidate.
“At least in the presidential elections, let us hope there are no defections. And individual members vote as per their respective party lines,” said senior NCP minister Jayant Patil. Independent MLA Kshitij Thakur skipped the voting as he is abroad. Medha Kulkarni, BJP MLA from Pune, was the first to vote.
BJP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who is in jail on corruption charges, was allowed to vote in the presidential elections. NCP MLA Ramesh Kadam, also in prison on corruption charges, too voted.
Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde, former Speaker and NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil, former minister Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in the state legislature assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Leader of Opposition in the state legislature council Dhananjay Munde were among those who cast their votes. All BJP and Sena cabinet ministers voted in the first half of the day.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis congratulated Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu, who has been picked as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the NDA. Fadnavis said, “Venkaiah Naidu is a versatile leader with vast parliamentary experience and a good administrator and minister.”