Ram Nath Kovind addresses the media on being elected as the 14th President of India, in New Delhi, July 20. (Manvender Vashist/PTI)
At least three out of 16 Congress MLAs in Goa voted for the victorious NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential poll, preferring him to Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.
Admitting the occurrence of cross-voting during the July 17 presidential election, a senior Congress leader said a special meeting of the party’s legislature party has been called on July 21.
After the results of the election were announced, July 20, the Congress has found that three of its MLAs voted for Kovind whereas two votes were found invalid, he said.
Kovind got votes of 25 MLAs against Kumar’s 13 in Goa.
“Yes, there was cross voting. We have called a special meeting of the Congress legislature party tomorrow to discuss the issue. We want to find out who have cross voted,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said.
In the 40-member House, whose current strength has been reduced to 38, due to resignations by two legislators, the BJP has 12 MLAs, the Congress 16, the GFP 3, the MGP 3, independents 3 and NCP 1.
Presuming that all 12 MLAs of the ruling BJP, besides three each of its allies the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents voted for Kovind, that would have taken his tally to 21.
But he secured votes of 25 MLAs instead.
NCP legislator Churchill Alemao had participated in a meeting of Goa legislators called by Kovind during his visit, but had refused to divulge whom he was supporting.
“Kovindji polled 25 votes in Goa which indicates that even the Opposition supported him. We had given the right candidate who has finally got elected,” BJP Goa unit president Vinay Tendulkar said while addressing a function organized by the BJP to celebrate Kovind’s victory.
The Opposition MLAs voting for the NDA candidate underlines that everyone is happy with the Central government and its performance, he said.