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Prez poll: AAP MLA Phoolka only one in Punjab not to cast vote

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Aam Aadmi Party's H S Phoolka was the only in the 117-member Assembly not to cast his vote for the presidential today while in all the 90 legislators exercised their franchise.

Phoolka, from Dakha in Punjab, abstained from voting as he had already declared that he would not vote for Congress-led opposition presidential candidate since he was fighting cases of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The AAP, which has 20 MLAs in Punjab, has already announced its support to Kumar, a former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, who is pitted against ruling NDA's Ram Nath Kovind for the country's top constitutional post.

Out of the total 117 members in the Assembly, 116 cast their votes, officials said.

The Congress, which stormed to power in in March after a gap of 10 years, has 77 MLAs in the Assembly, while the SAD-coalition has 18 MLAs (15 of Shiromani Akali Dal and three of BJP).

AAP's ally, the Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), has two MLAs.

Among the members from Punjab, the has four and the SAD has three. The had two but recently, its Gurdaspur MP Vinod Khanna passed away.

The has four members from Punjab, of whom two have been suspended by the party.

In the Rajya Sabha, the and the SAD have three members each from Punjab, while the has a lone member from the state in the Upper House of Parliament.

In Haryana, all the 90 MLAs cast their votes, the officials said.

In the Assembly, the ruling enjoys a majority with 47 MLAs and the support of five Independents, while the has 17 MLAs.

INLD, the principal opposition, has 19 members, while the SAD and the BSP have one each.

Among the MPs from Haryana, the has seven, the INLD two and the one.

In the Rajya Sabha, the has one member out of the five from the state. Media baron Subhash Chandra, an Independent member, was elected to the Upper House last year with the saffron party's support.

The has two members from Haryana, while the INLD has one.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and senior Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal were among those who cast their votes.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and senior leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhary, senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, INLD's senior leader and Abhay Chautala also exercised their franchise.

Besides, AAP's senior leaders Sukhpal Khaira and Aman Arora and Lok Insaaf Party's two legislators Balwinder Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains also cast their votes in the Assembly.

Special pens were provided by the Commission for the lawmakers to cast their votes on ballot papers both in and Assembly complexes.

AAP's ally the Lok Insaaf Party had earlier announced its support to Kovind while INLD also came out in support of nominee.

AICC-appointed observer, former Union Minister RPN Singh, was also present.

Talking to reporters after casting his vote, Khattar said he was certain that the nominee would be victorious.

Parkash Singh Badal said his party is supporting the nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said when people give votes as per their conscience, then they will vote for

Sukhpal Khaira said that the party had decided to support in the Presidential polls. "Therefore they voted for Meira Kumar," said Khaira.

Meanwhile, SAD and former finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa sought another ballot paper after special pen accidentally fell off from his hands while exercising his franchise, leaving some mark on the paper.

"Some mark was left on the ballot paper when pen slipped out of Dhindsa's hands. He requested for another ballot paper, fearing his vote may be declared invalid," SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said while dismissing suggestions that he initially cast his vote for

However, his request for another ballot paper was rejected by the elections authorities, Cheema said.

"He voted for candidate Ram Nath Kovind," said Cheema.

cabinet minister Brahim Mohindra, who was a polling agent, charged LIP's Simarjit Bains with breaching the secrecy of vote by showing his ballot, the claim which was denied by the legislator. Mohindra demanded that Bains vote be cancelled.

Meanwhile, president Ashok Tanwar shot off a letter to the Commission, alleging that he and AICC observer Charan Das Mahant, who is also a former Union Minister, were not allowed to enter Assembly premises today.

"In the past they used to allow to sit in the conference room to meet MLAs..Today, in other states, concerned State Commissions allowed PCC members and AICC observers to be present in assembly premises, but not here," he wrote.

However, Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal told reporters here that both were disallowed as they had not sought permission, which they should have.

"Therefore they (PCC chief and AICC observer) were not allowed entry inside by the officials on duty," the Speaker said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 17 2017. 18:48 IST