Lucknow, July 17 (IANS) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led legislators in Uttar Pradesh on Monday to cast their votes to elect the 14th President of India.
Adityanath is the Lok Sabha member from Gorakhpur.
Amid rains in the state capital here, voting for the next occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan began at a brisk pace, with women legislators turning up in large numbers to vote.
Many Ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Swamy Prasad Maurya, Brajesh Pathak, Gopal Tandon, Anupama Jaiswal, turned up early to cast their votes.
Swamy Prasad Maurya, who defected from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) before the assembly elections and went on to become a Cabinet Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, told IANS that it was a proud moment for the state.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom is the Lok Sabha member from Varanasi, and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the country would have Ram Nath Kovind, also from the sate, as the next President, the Chief MInister said.
He also said that there were high chances of cross voting from Opposition legislators in favour of the ruling NDA’s candidate, Kovind.
Senior Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother Shivpal Singh have already broken ranks with the party and announced support for Kovind. Mulayam Singh is a Lok Sabha member while Shivpal is a legislator in the state assembly.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti also voted here.
After casting her vote, Bharti said that while the outcome of the poll was a foregone conclusion, the only interest left in the poll battle between Kovind and UPA candidate Meira Kumar, was the victory margin for Kovind.
Criminal-turned-politician Mukhtaar Ansari was wheeled into the state assembly premises for voting amid high security after being brought in an ambulance.
BJP legislator Sangeet Som, accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, too, rooted for Kovind and said that the victory would be historic for the NDA.
He thanked Modi and the national BJP leadership for naming Kovind, a Dalit leader from Kanpur, for the top constitutional post.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.