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All the 90 MLAs in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly cast their vote in the presidential election today. "The voting began at 'Samiti Kaksh-2' (committee room-2) in the Vidhan Sabha premises at 10 am and concluded at 5 pm," said Devendra Verma, Principal Secretary, Vidhan Sabha, who is acting as the Assistant Returning Officer for the poll. All 90 members, including Chief Minister Raman Singh, his Cabinet colleagues, the Assembly Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal, Leader of the Opposition TS Singhdeo and state unit Congress president Bhupesh Baghel, also an MLA, exercised their franchise. NDA's Ram Nath Kovind is pitted against the Congress-led opposition's candidate Meira Kumar in the presidential election. In the 90-member House, the ruling BJP has 49 members and the Congress 39.
One MLA is from the BSP while another is the Independent legislator. Though Congress had expelled Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi and suspended its Gunderdehi legislator RK Rai, their MLAship is intact. Meanwhile, during polling, the Independent MLA from Mahasamund constituency Vimal Chopra was prevented by election officials from entering the voting room as he was wearing a kurta displaying some slogans (on the issue of farmers), Verma said, adding that the legislator was later allowed to vote after he changed his kurta. After the voting concluded, the ballot box was sealed in the presence of representatives of the two candidates (Kovind and Kumar), the officer said. The ballot box will be sent to Delhi through a flight tomorrow, he added. The counting of votes will take place on July 20. Out of 11 Lok Sabha MPs from Chhattisgarh, 10 are from the BJP and one from the Congress. The ruling party has three MPs on Rajya Sabha and the Congress 2 from the state.
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