The recently held presidential election and the historic victory of Droupadi Murmu have created political ripples in Punjab as the NDA candidate received an unexpected three extra votes from the state with both ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the opposition Congress now looking at their MLAs with suspicion even as both presented a brave face and mocked at each other for not being able to keep their flock together. .
In Punjab, 101 votes went to Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha and eight to Murmu. While two Congress MLAs, including Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal and Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia, did not cast their vote as they were stated to be abroad, SAD MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali refrained from voting as he said he did not agree with party’s decision of supporting NDA candidate. There were only 109 valid votes while five votes were h eld invalid. Punjab has 117 MLAs.
Out of the 109 valid votes, Murmu’s share of eight votes has set a cat among pigeons in both the parties. The cross-votes were a point of discussion In political circles in Punjab on Friday, a day after the counting.
While Murmu was expected to get only five votes as BJP (having two legislators), SAD (whose two voted for Murmu) and BSP, (having one legislator) had to abide by their respective party lines of supporting NDA candidate. On the other hand, with AAP (having 92 MLAs) and Congress (having 18 MLAs) supporting opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha was supposed to get 108 votes. However, he got only 101. Five votes were invalid and these were either from AAP or the Congress. Punjab has an Independent MLA, Rana Inder Partap Singh, and hence he is being looked at with curiosity. But he is son of Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh and the party leaders claimed that Rana Gurjit had assured the party of his son’s support for Congress-backed candidate. The Congress is also looking at former PPCC chief turned BJP leader Sunil Jakhar’s nephew Sandeep Jakhar with suspicion.
Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, however, said that the entire Congress camp voted for Sinha. “Those three who cross voted are not our MLAs. There are certainly AAP’s. Also, the five invalid votes are of AAP MLAs. They are so inexperienced that they did not even know how to vote.” said Bajwa.
He said, “AAP’s three MLAs have crossed the border. I want to tell AAP that the front three rows of BJP aircraft have been taken by AAP MLAs by cross voting.”
On Rana Gurjit’s son, he said, “Rana Gurjit met me after voting. He assured me that his son was with Congress.”
On the other hand, AAP chief spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang also mocked at Congress. “Their three MLAs have struck a deal with BJP. Didn’t you see Congress leaders’ pictures with Amit Shah lately? They are all ready to jump the sinking ship. The trend is increasing after elections in Punjab,” said Kang.
He said there was no question of AAP MLAs cross-voting in the election. “Why would they? We are the ruling party. Why should there be a discontent among us?”