A rare political unity in West Bengal between the Trinamool Congress, the Left and the Congress for the Presidential election is expected see the largest number of legislators from one state voting for Meira Kumar, the UPA’s candidate. Although the odds favour the NDA’s Presidential face Ram Nath Kovind nationally, in the 295-member Bengal Assembly and among its 42 Lok Sabha members, the presence of the BJP is weak.
Kovind is assured of the support of six legislators in the Assembly — three from the BJP and three from its political ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Kovind will get the votes of two BJP Lok Sabha members also. That would mean 288 state legislators — there is one nominated member who is ineligible to vote — and 40 MPs from Bengal could be expected to vote for Kumar.
Among members of the Rajya Sabha from Bengal, Kovind’s score could be zero, since the BJP does not have single member from the state in the Upper House of the Parliament. Of the 16 seats in the Rajya Sabha from Bengal, 12 are with Trinamool Congress, one with the Congress and three with CPI(M). The value of vote per Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha member is 708. The vote value of each state legislator in West Bengal is 151. The Presidential election is by a secret ballot and there is no whip.
Two ballot boxes have already reached Kolkata and most of the legislators are expected to vote in the West Bengal capital. The Election Commission for the first time has also prepared posters containing dos and don’ts for the electors. Green-coloured ballot papers will be there for the MPs and pink ones for the MLAs to cast votes,” the officer said.
Besides two representatives, one each for the two Presidential candidates, who will be present during the polling, armed policemen belonging to the Kolkata Police will be posted inside the House on Monday. The ballot boxes will leave for New Delhi amid tight security on Tuesday.