Er Rasheed stays away
SRINAGAR:The ruling PDP and BJP, along with the Peoples Conference (PC), voted on Monday for the BJP’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind while the Opposition parties including the National Conference sided with Congress candidate Meira Kumar.
Meira Kumar could not secure the majority vote despite some independent legislators voting for her. Legislator Er Rasheed, however, did not vote for any presidential candidate even though he had been asked by the Congress’s central and state leadership to vote for Kumar.
Ram Nath Kovind and Meira Kumar, both Dalits, were in the fray for the presidential election this year. Going by the number of BJP governments in Indian states, and its majority in the lower house of Parliament, it seems to be a cakewalk for Kovind. Kumar has the support of the 17 Opposition parties. Only a miracle can see her emerge victorious.
National Conference general secretary and legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar told Kashmir Reader that his party voted for Kumar because she was supported by the Opposition. Communist leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also voted for Kumar.
The ruling PDP and BJP voted for Kovind. Peoples Conference’s two candidates and independent MLA Bakir Rizvi of Zanskar voted for Kovind.
Rasheed, who had last time voted for the Congress candidate, this time stayed away. He told Kashmir Reader that he did not vote because the current President, Pranab Mukherjee, had betrayed a promise.
“Pranab had last time promised me and other legislators that he will not hang Afzal Guru. But after becoming President he forgot the promise. As such, there is no reason to vote. I was asked twice by both the state and central Congress leadership to vote for Kumar,” Rasheed said. “BJP is not my choice. Yes, when they accept Kashmir as a dispute and agree to hold referendum, I will not mind voting for their candidate.”
A total of 4,896 voters comprising elected members of Indian Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of states will elect the President. On July 20, the result will be announced. The ballot boxes will be taken to New Delhi on Monday and deposited in the Parliament Hall, where counting will take place on July 20.
Apart from the elected legislators, there are nine representative of JK in the Parliament, five in Lok Sabha and four in Rajya Sabha. MPs can cast their vote in the polling station of their state.