Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh cast their votes as the voting for the presidential election began in the state Assembly this morning. In the first hour of voting which began at 10 am, 85 legislators out of the total 228 eligible voters cast their votes.
The polling will end at 5 pm, an election official said. The two contestants for the post of the country's next president are NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind and the opposition's Meira Kumar. Besides Chouhan and Singh, state Assembly Speaker Dr Sitasharan Sharma, Deputy Speaker Rajendra Singh and nearly 12 ministers cast their votes for the presidential election. The Madhya Pradesh has a total of 230 Assembly seats. However, only 228 MLAs are eligible to vote at present. The Chitrakoot Assembly seat is vacant due to the demise of Congress legislator Prem Singh and the state's public relations minister, Narottam Mishra, has been disqualified for three years by the Election Commission over paid news charges. There are 29 Lok Sabha MPs and 12 Rajya Sabha members from Madhya Pradesh. The electorate have been provided special pens to cast their votes, the election official said. Following the ink controversy in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year, the Election Commission decided to use special pens for the electors to mark their votes in the presidential election.