N. Cheluvarayaswamy and Y.S.V. Datta, MLAs, skip polling due to personal reasons
The State did not see 100% voting in the presidential election on Monday. Of the total 225 voters, which included an MP, 223 members cast their votes in the elections in which NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind and UPA nominee Meira Kumar are battling it out.
Both the absentees are from the Opposition JD(S), which had pledged its support for the UPA candidate. While rebel JD(S) MLA N. Cheluvarayaswamy did not turn up as he is on a trip to the U.S., his party colleague Y.S.V. Datta could not make it to the polling centre in Vidhna Soudha owing to the demise of his sister.
The principal Opposition BJP ensured that all 48 MLAs from its fold as well as other Independents cast their votes within 90 minutes of commencement of polling. BJP member C.T. Ravi was the first to vote.
The polling was not without political tussle as rebel JD(S) MLAs came to the polling centre along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Angered by this, JD(S) State president H.D. Kumaraswamy said the episode was a clear indication of the ruling Congress trying to “politically finish off” the JD(S) under Mr. Siddaramaiah’s leadership.
“On the one hand, the Congress wants our support for various national issues,” Mr. Kumaraswamy told The Hindu.
Prakash Hukkeri, Chikkodi MP, was the only MP who cast his vote from Karnataka, as the other MPs had chosen to vote in New Delhi in the wake of the parliamentary session beginning on Monday. The electoral college from Karnataka comprised 224 MLAs (barring the nominated Anglo-Indian MLA) and an MP.
After polling, the ballot box was taken to Delhi by the representatives of the Election Commission. The Returning Officer for Karnataka and Legislative Assembly secretary, S. Murthy, and two other officials were part of the team that left for Delhi along with the ballot box. The counting will be held on July 20.