Odisha MLAs cast votes for presidential election

Bhubaneswar: MLAs of Odisha today reached the State Assembly to cast their votes for the presidential election to elect the 14th President of India in a contest between ruling NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind and opposition-backed Meira Kumar.

The voting process began at 10 AM at room no 54 of the assembly and is scheduled to continue till 5 PM.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, other ministers, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra and Rajya Sabha member (Independent) A.V. Swamy exercised their franchise at the assembly.

Narasingha Mishra was the first to cast his vote followed by Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Chiranjib Biswal, Congress legislators Devendra Sharma and Naba Kishore Das. Congress members have voted for Meira Kumar, said Mishra.

Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout said he voted for Kovind as the regional party has extended its support to the NDA candidate.

“It was a pleasure participating in the democratic process of the Presidential Election. I wish the next President of our country every success and an accomplished tenure in safeguarding the constitutional values for the people of the nation,” the Chief Minister said on Facebook.

After voting ends, ballot boxes would be flown to Delhi and stored in Parliament. The votes would be counted and results would be announced on July 20.

The total value of votes of the electoral college is 10,98,903, and the NDA candidate is slated to cross the halfway-mark and get about 63 per cent votes.

If elected, 71-year-old Kovind will be the second Dalit to become President after K.R. Narayanan, who was the 10th President.

The polling is being to choose the successor of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office on July 25.

(With IANS inputs)

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