BJP stunned as Karnataka, Himachal, Jharkhand lawmakers cross-vote

New Delhi/Bangalore: The Bharatiya Janata Party was stunned Sunday as around 16 of its legislators in the faction-ridden Karnataka unit and some in Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand seem to have voted for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential poll.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the party will probe the cross-voting issue.

In Karnataka, Mukherjee got 117 against 103 votes polled by P. A. Sangma, who was backed by the BJP and other opposition parties.

Sangma’s vote count shows that 16 BJP legislators have let him down and more so their party.

The BJP, ruling Karnataka for the first time, has 119 members in the 225-member assembly, in which one seat is vacant. It also has the support of one of the seven Independents.

Of the 224, only 223 were eligible to vote as one is a nominated member.

All 223 voted and three votes were declared invalid after the count in New Delhi

If there was no-cross voting, Mukherjee would have got 98 votes, 71 of the Congress and 27 of Janata Dal-Secular which had pledged support to him.

It is quite possible that Mukherjee has got votes of six Independents also, which would have taken the tally to 104 if there was no cross-voting by BJP.

If this is the case, then at least 13 BJP legislators have voted for Mukherjee as three votes have been declared invalid.

The state BJP leaders declined commenting on the embarrassing development.

Meanwhile, in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh, Mukherjee got 23 votes to Sangma’s 14. The BJP has 41 legislators in the 67-member house.

In Jharkhand, where the BJP rules in coalition with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the All Jharkhand Students Union, Mukherjee got 60 votes to Sangma’s 20 after both coalition partners decided to support the UPA nominee.

IANS

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