Chennai/Bengaluru/Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 17 (PTI) Barring three legislators, all MLAs in southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, and Union Territory of Puducherry voted in the coveted presidential election today.
Besides the MLAs, one MP each cast their votes in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka assembly secretariats respectively, officials said after polling ended at 5 pm.
In Tamil Nadu, the voting process was over in just about two hours with 232 legislators, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, and Kerala MLA Parikkal Abdullah from Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode district casting their votes at the assembly secretariat conference hall in Chennai.
While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami was the first to cast his vote at 10 am, AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) legislator and former minister S Semmalai was the last to exercise his franchise by 11.56 am.
State Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said the sealed ballot box would be taken to Delhi by a 9.10 PM flight.
94-year-old DMK president M Karunanidhi could not vote due to health reasons, party working president and his son M K Stalin said after exercising his franchise.
Besides, one seat (RK Nagar) is vacant in the 234-member assembly.
In Karnataka, two MLAs skipped the voting.
Out of 224 MLAs, 222 along with Congress MP from Chikkodi, Prakash Hukkeri cast their votes at Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru, Assistant Returning Officer and Karnataka Assembly Secretary S Murthy said in a statement.
According to officials, JDS’ Y S V Datta and suspended party MLA Cheluvaraya Swamy did not vote.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Opposition Leader Jagadish Shettar and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy led their party MLAs in casting votes for the election.
A report from Thiruvananthapuram said 138 MLAs, including lone BJP representative O Rajagopal, cast their ballots.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala and other legislators cast their vote at the state assembly complex.
CPI(M) veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandandn and Congress leader Oommen Chandy were among the prominent ones to cast their votes early in the day.
In Puducherry, all 30 elected legislators exercised their franchise.
Speaker V Vaithilingam was first to vote, followed by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues and others.
Although opposition AINRC has eight legislators in the House, one of its members P R N Tirumurugan representing Karaikal, turned up at the booth separately and after casting his vote, he left the venue without talking to media.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.