Prez: Biggest setback for Pranab, Mulayam's vote rejected

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Mulayam Singh Yadav
New Delhi, Jul 20: Just a day after the presidential election, Pranab Mukherjee might have received one of the biggest shock of his life. The election commission on Friday, Jul 20 announced that they have rejected Mulayam Singh Yadav's vote which he cast after his "mistake" at the Parliament on Thursday.

It might be proved as a major setback for Pranab Mukherjee but definitely brought a ray of hope for Team Sangma who is believed to have lost the race before the results announced.

Mr Yadav on Thursday first cast his vote for Sangma but "by mistake". However, he quickly rectified his mistake and asked for a new ballot paper and again cast his vote for Pranab Mukherjee.

After the goof-up by Samajwadi Party chief, Team Sangma questioned why Mulayam was provided with a fresh ballot. It was reported on Thursday soon after Mulayam had cast his vote that he had ticked his choice against Sangma's name by mistake. Realizing the faux pas, Mulayam is understood to have immediately tore off his ballot and sought a fresh one to exercise his franchise. Sangma's polling agent Satya Pal Jain had raised objections then but the returning officer VK Agnihotri obliged and allowed Mulayam to vote again.

Jain had filed a written complaint against it and said that Mulayam was "not entitled to another ballot under the law." The Sangma camp is seeking a cancellation of the second ballot paper issued to Mulayam and is stressing that the first ballot paper be counted. A copy of the complaint has also been passed to the election observers.

Jain commented, "Fortunately the first ballot paper has been preserved under a sealed cover with the Returning officer."

The returning officer, also a Rajya Sabha secretary general, said that he had issued a fresh ballot after he was informed by Mulayam that his ballot paper was torn and that he confirmed with the rules while issuing a fresh ballot.

However, experts believe that Mulayam's vote may not affect Pranab as there were reports that one Gujarat BJP MLA and two Andhra Pradesh MLAs voted for Pranab going against their party's decision to vote for Sangma. Here it can be mentioned that one MP's vote is calculated for 708 points while MLAs votes depend on populations of the state.

Ahead of the presidential elections, the electoral college for the Jul 19 poll comprises 4,896 members -- 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs -- who have a vote value of 10.98 lakh. According to the electoral, one candidate needs to get more than 5,49,442 votes to win the election. The presidential elections results will be announced on Sunday, Jul 22 which will finally decide that who will become the 13th president of India.

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