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Meghalaya CM expects ‘cross-voting’ in presidential polls

“We do expect cross-voting from the opposition in favour of the NDA presidential candidate,” said Sangma, president of the NDA constituent National People’s Party (NPP).

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Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Sunday said he expects cross-voting from opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators in the State on Monday in favour of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu.

“All legislators of the MDA (ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance) are going to vote in favour of Murmu. However, two legislators from the alliance won’t be taking part in the election process due to their prior engagement outside the state,” Sangma told UNI over phone.

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“We do expect cross-voting from the opposition in favour of the NDA presidential candidate,” said Sangma, president of the NDA constituent National People’s Party (NPP).

The other alliance partners include United Democratic Party, Hill State People’s Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Party, BJP and independents.

There are five suspended Congress legislators who have remained undecided about their choice of candidate.

TMC state president and veteran legislator Charles Pyngrope said there was no chance of any cross-voting.

“We have made our stand very clear and there will be no cross-voting from our side,” he asserted. Trinamool has announced its MLAs would vote for opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, who, however, has not visited the state.  

Political circles, however, were abuzz with TMC legislator Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang attending the meeting convened by the BJP for interaction with Murmu at the Umiam Lake Resort recently.

“We don’t know, it is up to him. The voting is going to be by secret ballot and you don’t have to show your papers to anybody and in that process our party stand is very clear,” Pyngrope told UNI.

The vote value of the 60 MLAs in Meghalaya is 17 each, while that of three parliamentarians from the state, including two members of the Lok Sabha and one of the Rajya Sabha is 700 each, as per the Election Commission norms for the presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the election department has made all preparations for the smooth conduct of the Presidential elections to be held at the Meghalaya Assembly Annexe hall.

As part of the preparations, the Election Commission of India Observer, Kanta Rao undertook an inspection of the Assembly Annexe hall and reviewed the poll preparations.

Rao during his inspection was accompanied by state Chief Election Officer, Fredrick Kharkongor.

“Although the elections would be conducted by the Assembly staff, we would be coordinating with them and supervising the elections,” Kharkongor said.

The Presidential elections are conducted with ballot paper and voters are the MLAs and MPs, who would drop their ballot paper in a ballot box. Once the elections are over, the ballot box would be taken to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in New Delhi for counting and subsequent declaration of the results. 

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