New Delhi: Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday cast his vote in favour of Opposition-backed candidate PA Sangma in place of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee as voting began in Parliament House and state capitals for electing a new President.
As per reports, Mulayam Singh mistakenly ticked on PA Sangma`s name during voting. However, the SP chief quickly realized his mistake and tore the ballot paper.
Mulayam was then given a fresh ballot paper and then he voted in favour of UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee, who is tipped to win the presidential poll against his rival tribal leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Sangma.
Meanwhile, defying the party whip, Kanu Kansadia, the BJP MLA from Gujarat and a close associate of Chief Minister Narendra Modi today voted in favour of Pranab Mukherjee shortly after the voting began in the state Assembly.
Brisk polling was witnessed in the early hours with M K Alagiri of DMK, Opposition BJD MP B Mahtab and Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress was among the early voters. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi cast their votes at 11 am.
As many as 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs with a total vote value of 10.98 lakh votes are eligible to cast their ballot in the 14th Presidential election.
Members of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies make up the electoral college for the Presidential election.
The run-up to the Presidential poll saw its twists and turns with key UPA ally Trinamool Congress first declaring its opposition to Mukherjee only to take "the painful decision" to back him.
Besides the UPA and its four supporting parties – SP, BSP, RJD, JD(S) – NDA members JD(U) and Shiv Sena as also the CPI(M) and Forward Bloc have declared their support for Mukherjee.
The CPI, RSP, TDP and TRS, which together have about 36,000 votes, are likely to abstain from voting.
There are around 32,000 votes with smaller parties who have no presence in Parliament but have legislators in the states.
Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, jumped into the fray playing the tribal card with initial support of the BJD and AIADMK. The BJP and Akali Dal decided to back Sangma, who quit the NCP, the party he founded with Sharad Pawar, to contest the election.
With PTI Inputs