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Presidential Voting Starts In Odisha Assembly

Odisha CM, Navin Patnaik, with other members of Odisha Assembly have casted their votes for electing the 15th President of India

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The polling to elect the country's 15th president began in Odisha Assembly on Monday and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was among the early members to cast their votes.

Enthusiastic lawmakers of the ruling BJD and the opposition BJP have queued up as the NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu is a "daughter of Odisha". BJP member Mukesh Mahaling was the first Odisha legislator to cast his vote when polling commenced at 10 am.

It is for the first time that a person from the state is in the fray for the election to the country's topmost constitutional post.

It is also probably for the first time in the history of presidential election in the state that both the ruling party (BJD) and the main opposition (BJP) are supporting the same candidate. Congress has announced to support Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha in the presidential poll.

All 147 members of the Odisha Assembly are eligible to vote in the presidential election. While the ruling Biju Janata Dal has 112 MLAs, the BJP has 22, Congress nine and CPI(M) and Independent one each. Two members of the BJD have been expelled.

All the 31 MPs from Odisha - 21 Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha members - will cast their votes in the Parliament. Of the 21 Lok Sabha members 12 are from the BJD, eight from BJP and one from the Congress. The BJD has nine members in the Rajya Sabha and BJP one.

The Leader of the Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik, a BJP lawmaker from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district, is likely to cast his vote in Delhi as he is under treatment there for post COVID-19 aliments.

BJD's expelled MLA Prashant Jagdev, who is in jail for his alleged involvement in a criminal case, may cast his vote at the Assembly premises.

As the system of secret ballot is followed in the presidential election,, parties cannot issue whips to their MLAs for voting. The value of votes for each MLA in Odisha is 149. The value of a vote by an an MP is 700 as it is across the country

Patnaik, who is also the BJD president, has appealed to all the members of the Odisha assembly to cast their votes in support of Murmu, who hails from Mayurbhanj district in the state.

(PTI)