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BJP hopes to split UPA votes in the Presidential polls

Monday, July 17, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) hopes to split the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) vote bank in Maharashtra in the 15th Presidential elections to be held on July 17. Speaking to Afternoon D&C yesterday on conditions of anonymity a senior BJP leader remarked that besides BJP led NDA vote share of 186 votes, the alliance hopes to increase its tally to 205 votes with a split in the UPA camp. According to political analysts BJP led NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind with numbers on his side is likely to win the key state of Maharashtra in an direct contest with UPA's Presidential candidate Meira Kumar.

Meanwhile, sources in the NDA camp revealed that Independent MLA Ravi Rana close to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has claimed that about 14 to 15 MLA's from opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led UPA camp are in touch with the BJP led NDA camp. The scare of a split in votes is real as the voting for the Presidential elections is both by secret ballot and in preferential order. Following the ink controversy in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to use special marking pens for electors to mark their votes.

In the 288 Member Legislative Assembly (MLA) the party wise MLA strength is as follows: BJP 122, Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41, Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP-I) 3, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) 3, MIM 2, MNS 1, Samajwadi Party 1, BBM 1, CPI-M 1, RSP 1 and Independent's 7. Out of the 48 Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha from the state, the party wise strength is as follows: BJP 23, Sena 18, NCP 4, Congress 2 and Independent 1. Out of the 19 Members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha from the state, the party wise strength is as follows: BJP 5, NCP 5, Congress 4, Sena 3, RPI-A 1 and Independent 1.

In all there are 355 votes that comprises of 288 MLAs, 48 Lok Sabha and 19 Rajya Sabha MP's from the state. Out of which the BJP led NDA has 248 votes that comprises of 199 MLAs and 49 MP's. Whereas the Congress led UPA has 104 votes that comprises of 88 MLAs and 16 MP's. The total value of votes of the 248 NDA votes is 69,517. Whereas, the total value of votes of 104 UPA votes is 26,728 votes.

Apart from Bhujbal who will cast his ballot in the presidential elections, Independent MP from Rajya Sabha Sanjay D Kakde has been granted permission by ECI to cast his ballot at the polling center in Vidhan Bhavan. At the national level the ECI has permitted 14 Rajya Sabha MPs, 41 Lok Sabha MPs to vote in State Legislative Assemblies instead in Parliament. Prominent among those include: Manohar Parrikar (Goa), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh) and Uma Bharti (Uttar Pradesh). Interestingly enough 32 out of the 34 Lok Sabha MP's and 11 out of the 12 Rajya Sabha MP's of the Trinamool Congress will be casting their ballot at the polling booth in Vidhan Sabha in Kolkatta rather than at the Parliament in New Delhi
Similarly, the ECI has permitted 5 MLAs to exercise their vote in Parliament and 4 MLAs to vote in other State legislative Assemblies. Prominent among those MLA's allowed to cast their vote in Parliament include BJP president Amit Shah. While, former Congress Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot who is now in-charge of party affairs in Gujarat has been permitted by the ECI to cast his ballot at polling center at Gujarat Vidhan Sabha.

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