Four legislators — two of NCP in Jharkhand and Gujarat, and as many of the Congress in Haryana and Odisha — on Monday said they “followed the voice of their conscience” and cross-voted in favour of NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election.
The lone Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA in Gujarat, Kandhal Jadeja, a two-time legislator from Kutiyana Assembly constituency in Porbandar district, voted in favour of Murmu, inviting a show-cause notice from the party. “I have voted for the BJP (the NDA candidate)… I have to stay in Gujarat and I vote keeping in mind the development works of my constituency. I do not have my selfish interest in mind while voting,” Jadeja said after casting his vote.
This is not the first time Jadeja, the MLA from Gujarat, has cross-voted in favour of the NDA. He had voted for BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections of 2017 and 2020, too.
In Ranchi, NCP’s only MLA in Jharkhand Kamlesh Singh, came out of the Vidhan Sabha and announced that he voted for Murmu. “Droupadi Murmu worked for the people of Jharkhand and I also maintained a personal relationship with her. Plus, my constituency has around 9,000 Adivasi votes that hold significance in Assembly elections,” Singh, an MLA from Hussainabad constituency bordering Bihar, told The Indian Express.
Congress MLA in Odisha Mohammed Moquim created a flutter by announcing that he has voted in favour of Murmu as she was a “daughter of Odisha”. Immediately after exercising his franchise in the Assembly, the legislator from Cuttack-Barabati Assembly segment said he went by his “conscience call”. “I am an Odia. I voted in favour of Droupadi Murmu as she is a daughter of Odisha. I went by my conscience. MLAs cannot be prevented from listening to their conscience,” Moquim said.
Haryana Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, who had cross-voted in last month’s Rajya Sabha polls, said he has voted according to his conscience in the presidential election, too. Indicating that he supported Murmu rather than Opposition’s Yashwant Sinha, Bishnoi said in Delhi, “Like in Rajya Sabha, I have cast my vote in this election too as per my conscience”.
An Akali MLA in Punjab boycotted the presidential election citing non-redressal of issues relating to the state.
Some parties like Shiv Sena and JMM have already broken ranks with their allies in the UPA to support a woman tribal to become the next President of India. There were claims and counterclaims of cross-voting by the ruling and opposition parties in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
(With PTI inputs)