A large number of opposition MLAs cross-voted in favour of the BJP’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, who is set to become India’s first tribal President.
Around 125 MLAs and 17 opposition MPs cross-voted in Droupadi Murmu’s support, according to sources.
Soon after Droupadi Murmu was elected winner versus the opposition’s Yashwant Sinha, the BJP’s Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Himanta Biswa Sarma put out messages “thanking” opposition MLAs who had voted according to their conscience.
Droupadi Murmu even won an unexpected vote from Kerala, where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has not a single MLA in the 140-member assembly. The ruling Left-led coalition and the opposition Congress-led UDF had both announced their support for Yashwant Sinha.
The BJP exulted in the single vote from Kerala, calling it more valuable than the rest of the 139 votes in the state.
Droupadi Murmu won 64 per cent of the votes polled in the election, leaving around 36 per cent for Yashwant Sinha.
In Assam, 25 opposition MLAs voted for Droupadi Murmu.
“Droupadi Murmu polled 104 votes compared to NDA’s original strength of 79 in the 126 member Assam Assembly. 2 absent. My heartfelt gratitude to the people of Assam for reposing their faith in the NDA’s Presidential candidate and wholeheartedly joining this historic moment,” tweeted Assam Chief Minister Himanta Sarma.
Similar cross-voting had taken place during recent Rajya Sabha polls in the state, when the ruling BJP won both seats. Both the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) have accused each other of cross-voting.
In Madhya Pradesh, Droupadi Murmu won 16 extra votes; she received 146 votes and Yashwant Sinha, 79.
“Droupadi Murmu got more than the BJP votes. I thank the other party MLAs who listened to their conscience and voted for our candidate,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Sigh Chouhan said in a video message.
In Bengal, the BJP has 69 MLAs but Droupadi Murmu won 71 votes. Yashwant Sinha did not win all opposition votes even in his home state Jharkhand, where only nine of 81 MLAs supported him.
In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had won 164 votes during his trust vote – that is the number of NDA votes – but 181 MLAs voted for Droupadi Murmu.
A few MLAs of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress cross-voted in Meghalaya while in Manipur, Congress MLAs backed the NDA candidate.
Six opposition MLAs each from Bihar and Chhattisgarh, four from Goa and 10 from Gujarat may also have voted for Droupadi Murmu.
Yashwant Sinha did not win a single vote in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland.
After more than 10 hours of counting on Thursday, Droupadi Murmu was declared winner. Droupadi Murmu won 2,824 first preference vote compared to Yashwant Sinha’s 1,877, not an overwhelming majority. The value of votes she got was 6,76,803 compared to Yashwant Sinha’s 3,80,177.