By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 18 Jul: In the polling held today for the Presidential elections across the country, 67 out of a total of 70 MLAs from Uttarakhand exercised their franchise, while the remaining three could not make it to the state assembly to cast their votes.
It is reported that all the MPs from Uttarakhand cast their votes in the Parliament House, New Delhi.
Voting began at 10 a.m. and continued till 5 p.m., though all the 67 MLAs who cast their votes had exercised their franchise by afternoon.
The 3 MLAs who could not cast their votes included Cabinet Minister Chandan Ram Das, who was again hospitalised with a complaint of food poisoning, and Congress legislators Tilak Raj Behad and Rajendra Bhandari. Chandan Ram Das has been keeping unwell for some time and had been admitted some time ago in a Delhi based Hospital. He had to be again hospitalised in a private hospital in Dehradun even as he was recuperating.
Tilak Raj Behad has also not been keeping well ever since his election and has not been seen in Dehradun and in the assembly due to ill health. It was not immediately clear, though, why Rajendra Singh Bhandari was unable to exercise his franchise.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami cast his vote soon after the process began in the morning. After casting his vote, Dhami claimed that the victory of NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu is certain and she would win by a huge margin of votes. Dhami added that voting is just a formality as Murmu’s win is certain. He also reminded that, from Uttarakhand, she was bound to get huge support as the two independent MLAs and the two BSP MLAs had also promised support to her.
After the Chief Minister, Speaker Ritu Khanduri cast her vote. This was followed by Ganesh Joshi, Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat and Bishan Singh Chufal casting their votes. BSP’s Mohammed Shehzad and Sarwat Karim Ansari cast their votes after them. Others to follow included Cabinet Ministers Subodh Uniyal and Rekha Arya and a others from all the parties.
By 2 p.m., 67 out of the 70 MLAs had cast their votes, though the polling was scheduled to close at 5 p.m.
It may be recalled that BJP has 47 MLAs, of whom, 46 cast their votes, Congress has 19 of whom 17 cast their votes. Both the independent MLAs and both the BSP MLAs also cast their votes. Arrangements had been made for voting in room number 321 of the assembly building. All the preparations were completed in the assembly building for the voting, yesterday, itself. Carrying of mobile phones, wireless sets and cameras was prohibited at the polling place. The voters entered the polling room after showing their identity cards. Immediately after casting their vote, they were asked to go out of the Room number 321. Yesterday, the observer posted by the Election Commission, LH Changsang, had inspected the polling site, the security of the strong room and the polling system in the assembly building.
The results are to be announced on 21 July.