Even though Ram Nath Kovind’s victory in the Presidential polls was expected, given the NDA’s numbers over the Opposition, his presidential bid got a big push because lawmakers from rival parties cross-voted for him in several states.
Kovind managed more votes from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, where cross-voting is said to have taken place in his favour.
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, Kovind’s key election manager, claimed that close to 116 lawmakers from rival parties, including the Congress, appeared to have voted for the NDA candidate.
Kovind defeated opposition candidate Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker, after garnering 65.65 percent of the votes in the electoral college.
Kovind received 2930 votes with a value of 7,02,044 and Kumar got 1844 votes with a value of 3,67,314, said election Returning Officer Anoop Mishra.
In West Bengal, where the BJP is locked in a bitter fight with the ruling TMC, Kovind clinched the votes of 11 MLAs in the state, five more than NDA’s tally of six.
He also managed to secure votes of seven lawmakers in the Left-ruled Tripura, where BJP or its NDA allies do not have any MLA. These included six TMC MLAs who are likely to join the BJP.
In poll-bound Gujarat, where Assembly elections are due later this year, at least eight Congress MLAs probably voted for the NDA candidate. Congress has 57 MLAs in the state but Meira Kumar got only 49 votes.
In Maharashtra, the NDA nominee got 20 votes more than the alliance’s strength of 188 in the state assembly.
“Going by the opposition’s strength in the Maharashtra Assembly, Meira Kumar should have got 90 votes, but secured only 77,” state BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told PTI.
“The opposition owes an explanation to the people for the loss of these 13 votes,” Bhandari added.
In Goa, at least three of Congress’ 16 MLAs are also suspected to have voted for Kovind.
“Yes, there was cross-voting. We have called a special meeting of the Congress Legislature Party tomorrow to discuss the issue. We want to find out who have cross-voted,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.
(With inputs from PTI)