New Delhi, July 17: Polling for the Presidential poll is on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah cast their votes along with other party leaders. The Opposition camp that has significantly shrunk in size will also cast their votes– but with no hope of a win for their candidate, Meira Kumar. The numbers are with the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind and in all likelihood, he would be the next President of India when President Pranab Mukherjee demits office. The only thrill left in the poll is cross-voting when the ballots open for counting on July 17.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Kovind in advance in a meeting of NDA MPs. He said that he was ready to work with Kovind in tandem. He had all the reasons to be sure of Kovind’s win as the numbers are stacked heavily in his favour. According to BJP leaders, the NDA candidate has the support of 40 political parties, which is not an ordinary number. The parties include AIADMK, BJD, TRS, and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
Conservative estimates by national newspapers peg Kovind’s support to be at least 63 per cent. Some media outlets reported that he might even get 70 per cent votes, which is roughly equal to the votes Pranab Mukherjee got in 2012. (Also read: President Pranab Mukherjee to Demit Office on July 24: A Look Back at His 5 Years in Office)
The NDA has around 48 per cent votes of the electoral college. Meira Kumar has the support of Congress, TMC, SP, BSP, RJD, the Left, DMK, AAP, and NCP–together these parties make 34 per cent votes. The additional 15 per cent votes of parties friendly to the ruling BJP give a decisive lead to Kovind.With Kovind’s win being a foregone conclusion, cross-voting may provide the thrills. According to reports, some AAP MLAs may support the NDA nominee despite clear party line. Eyes would be on Shiv Sena, which has ditched its alliance partners in the past.
The biggest setback for the prospective Congress-led grand-alliance is Mulayam Singh Yadav going with the NDA candidate. His brother Shivpal Singh Yadav on Monday that he and Mulayam would vote for Kovind. Network 18 reported that Shivpal was in touch with 40 MLAs. Though, the apparent reason for Mulayam’s shunning the Opposition candidate that he wants to get back at his son who wrested power from him last year, Shivpal said that they knew Kovind personally.