Result of President election to be declared on Sunday
With the Trinamool Congress also pledging its support at the eleventh hour, the United Progressive Alliance’s candidate, Mr Pranab Mukherjee appeared confident of winning the President election with a thumping majority.
The Opposition BJP and their candidate Mr P.A. Sangma were still hopeful that the members of the electoral college will vote according to their conscience.
The election saw about 100 per cent polling as majority of the electoral college, consisting of 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs, decided to vote to elect the first citizen of the country.
The Returning Officer, Mr V.K. Agnihotri, said the election was peaceful and the results will be announced after the counting on Sunday. The ballot boxes from all State Assemblies will be brought to Parliament before the counting date.
The polling started at 10 a.m. and was completed at 4 p.m. on Thursday in Parliament and State Legislatures across the country. Mr Agnihotri said about 96 per cent MPs voted in Parliament.
The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh; the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi; and senior BJP leaders, Mr L.K. Advani, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Arun Jaitley voted in Parliament.
Other leaders who voted in Parliament included Mr Sitaram Yechury, Mr Sharad Yadav, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Split wide open
While the UPA firmly backs Mr Mukherjee, the NDA saw a split, with JD(U) and Shiv Sena also deciding to support UPA’s candidate. Mr Sangma, who was initially proposed by the BJD and the AIADMK, got support from the BJP and the Akali Dal later.
The Left parties were also divided on the candidate. While the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc decided to support Mr Mukherjee, the CPI and the RSP abstained from the election.
Mr Mukherjee’s election coordinators said he will win with a thumping majority. Those who campaigned for Mr Sangma said MPs will vote according to their conscience.
The NDA is likely to file an election case against Mr Mukherjee for allegedly not resigning from three offices ahead of the President election.