New Delhi: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav made a blunder on Thursday and voted for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Presidential nominee PA Sangma 'by mistake' as polling was underway for the Presidential elections. Following this, Mulayam requested for a new ballot paper and was allowed to vote again. Mulayam had announced his support for UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee last month.
Meanwhile, Gujarat BJP MLA Kanu Kalasariya whipped up some drama by going against his party and voting for Pranab Mukherjee.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were among the first to cast their votes. Pranab Mukherjee also cast his vote. MK Alagiri of the DMK, opposition BJD MPs led by B Mahtab and Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress were also among the early voters.
While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi voted in his Gujarat, LK Advani and Arun Jaitley went to Parliament to cast their vote. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jaya has also exercised her franchise.
The polling will end at 5 pm. Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has 12 MLAs, has decided to abstain from voting.
Besides the UPA and its four supporting parties - the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the RJD and the JD(S) - NDA members JD(U) and Shiv Sena as well as the CPI(M) and Forward Bloc have declared their support for Pranab.
The CPI, RSP, the Telugu Desam Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which together have about 36,000 votes, are likely to abstain from voting. Meanwhile, YSR Congress's Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to support Pranab Mukherjee.
Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, jumped into the fray playing the tribal card with initial support of the BJD and AIADMK. The BJP and Akali Dal decided to back Sangma, who quit the NCP, the party he founded with Sharad Pawar, to contest the election.
Presidential election: The process
The President of India is elected by an electoral college comprising MPs and MLAs.
- 776 MPs, all except nominated ones, cast their vote.
- 4120 MLAs cast their vote.
- 708 votes is the value of each MP's vote.
- Meanwhile, the value of an MLA's vote is variable. It depends on the population of the state the MLA represents.
Pranab vs Sangma: How the numbers stack up
Support for Pranab: UPA (+TMC) + RJD + SP + BSP + JDS + CPM + FB + NDA allies (Shiv Sena and JDU) = 66.7 per cent
Support for Sangma: BJP + SAD + JMM + BJD + AIADMK = 30.3 per cent
Undecided parties: TDP + others = 3 per cent
(With additional information from PTI)