Omar among first few to vote, Mehbooba last

The former Chief Minister expressed hope that parties facing the BJP in the states will revisit their decision to vote for Kovind, “considering the situation in the country.”

Umer Maqbool
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 18 2017 12:32AM | Updated Date: Jul 18 2017 12:32AM
Omar among first few to vote, Mehbooba lastGK Photo

National Conference’s working president Omar Abdullah was among first few legislators to reach the Assembly complex here on Monday to vote in the presidential election.

Omar, whose party is supporting the opposition’s joint nominee Meira Kumar, voted at 10.19 am, minutes after voting began across all states for the election in which NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind is locked in a direct contest with Meira.

“As far as the numbers are concerned, it seems the NDA has an advantage in the electoral college, but in a secret ballot you cannot show your vote to anyone,” Omar told reporters after casting his vote.

The former Chief Minister expressed hope that parties facing the BJP in the states will revisit their decision to vote for Kovind, “considering the situation in the country.”

“So there is hope that those parties that have till now opposed the BJP and will be the target of the party in the coming state elections might change their decision (to support Kovind) at the last moment, considering the situation in the country,” he said.

As soon as polling started here, Congress MLA GM Saroori, who was the polling agent for Meira, was the first legislator to cast his vote.

“We don’t have numbers but we hope that majority of legislators from the state would vote for us because of unholy alliance between PDP and BJP,” said Saroori, who was assisted by NC’s Mubarak Gul

For NDA nominee Kovind, BJP minister and MLA Samba Chandra Prakash Ganga was the polling agent.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who represents Anantnag Assembly segment, turned up at last as men from the Special Security Group (SSG) and Security wing of J&K police kept waiting for her.

Mehbooba, who returned from New Delhi this afternoon, voted at 4:12 pm. Before her, PDP MLA Javaid Mustafa Mir cast his vote. A total of 86 MLAs from J&K voted in the election.

“Out of 87 MLAs who were eligible to cast votes, 86 voted,” Assistant Returning Officer and Secretary Legislative Assembly, MR Singh said.

He said the ballot box has been kept in strong room and would be sent to Delhi where counting would take place on July 20. 

Among the 87 elected MLAs in the Assembly, 56 belong to the ruling combine—28 of PDP, 25 BJP, two of Peoples Conference and independent MLA Baqir Rizvi.

The opposition has 29 MLAs in the Assembly—15 NC, 12 Congress and one each from CPI (M) and PDF.