The presidential election in the home state of Pranab Mukherjee,the UPA candidate,had only one hitch: rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman chose not to vote.
A total of 282 MLAs of the Trinamool Congress,Congress,CPM,Forward Bloc,DSP and Samajwadi Party cast their vote in the state Assembly today. Two Trinamool MLAs Omar Ali of Panskura in West Midnapore district and Bhushan Dolui of Moyna in East Midnapore could not come to vote because of serious illness.
The 26 Trinamool MPs (minus Suman) voted in the Assembly while the Congress and Left MPs voted in Delhi.
The first to cast his vote in the Assembly was S M Saadi,followed by Anisur Rehman,both of whom are from the CPM. While most of the Left parties had already endorsed the candidature of Mukherjee,the Trinamool Congress announced only on July 17 that it would vote in favour of the UPA candidate.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cast her vote at 1.20 pm after attending a meeting with party MLAs and MPs. Then she went to the Assembly lobby,where the leaders had queued up for voting,and mingled with them.
Among the MPs who voted at the Assembly were former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi and rebel leader Somen Mitra. Mamata later held a discussion with the MPs on various development issues.
Pranab Mukherjee called Md Sohrab,leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP),twice today for updates regarding the ground situation. Sohrab and his other colleagues in CLP were tasked with ensuring that all MLAs and MPs of the Congress and TMC cast their votes.
Sohrab called TMC MLA Sikha Mitra,wife of Somen Mitra,who had recently spoken out against her party,and asked her to come and vote. Sohrab also tried to call Kabir Suman,but the latter reportedly did not take the call.
AICC general secretary in charge of West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed camped at Bidhan Bhavan,the state congress headquarters,and monitored the situation.
A beaming Abhijit Mukherjee,Pranabs son and MLA from Nalhati in Birbhum district,told The Indian Express,You can congratulate us only after July 22.