The BJP may lack elected MPs and MLAs from Kerala but the party’s state unit is on cloud nine over NDA’s Droupadi Murmu possibly receiving one vote in the just concluded Presidential polls from the state, dominated by blocs led by the CPI(M) and the Congress.
Ms Murmu scripted history on Thursday by becoming the country’s first tribal President, defeating Opposition’s joint candidate Yashwant Sinha in an election where the MPs and MLAs voted to pick the country’s constitutional head. The BJP neither has representation in the state Assembly nor in the Lok Sabha.
The single vote polled to Ms Murmu from Kerala has kicked up a debate in the Left-ruled state as the BJP valued it higher than the other 139 votes that went to Mr Sinha while the ruling CPI(M) and opposition Congress did not want to pin the blame on anyone without knowing facts.
An elated BJP state unit credited its outreach to other party MLAs for the lone vote Ms Murmu got from Kerala, even as it said it expected two votes in her favour.
Soon after the results were announced, BJP’s Kerala chief K Surendran, on his Facebook page, shared the purported break-up chart of the total votes polled to both candidates from the states and the Parliament, which seemed to indicate one state MLA’s preference for the NDA candidate.
As there is no BJP legislator in the 140-member state Assembly, Mr Sinha was expected to corner all the votes en bloc.
Incidentally, only a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, Neel Ratan Singh Patel was allowed to cast his vote in the presidential polls from here on July 18 as he was undergoing an Ayurvedic treatment at a hospital in Palakkad district.
Ms Murmu securing the solitary vote has made political observers wonder whether some legislator had done it deliberately or by mistake.
However, Mr Surendran expressed joy over the matter, saying the lone vote is of “more value than the rest of 139 votes polled”.
He also termed the vote received by Ms Murmu as a “positive” one against the negative stand being taken by the respective fronts headed by the Left and the Congress in the state.
Addressing a press meet on Friday, he said the vote polled to the NDA candidate from the state was not an “accidental” one as believed by many.
He said he had sent a letter to all the 140 MLAs in the state and MPs from the state requesting them to cast their vote for Ms Murmu.
Many of them were met personally with the request and there were several legislators and parliamentarians from the state who secretly admitted they would like to vote for Ms Murmu, he claimed.
“They told us in person that they could not violate the party line and vote for the NDA candidate but their conscience is with her. We had strong expectations about two votes but we did not get one of them in the last moment. We don’t know whether it was so because of any pressure from the respective party leadership,” Mr Surendran said.
When reporters asked the details about the person who voted in favour of the NDA nominee, the BJP leader laughed it off, asking the media to find it out.
He also said the BJP state leadership had not approached the MLAs and MPs discreetly but through an open letter and out of a sincere wish that a person hailing from a tribal community should become the President.
Responding to the matter, senior Congress leader V D Satheesan said no one actually knows what had happened in the presidential election.
“It is not right to insult anyone without knowing the things properly,” the Leader of Opposition told reporters in Kozhikode.
When the media asked whether the ruling CPI(M) would look into any suspected incident of cross voting and probe who did it, party state secretary Mr Balakrishnan asked how could it be done.
“If you(media) know a way please let us know,” he told reporters here.
When asked whether the party doubts any particular MLA, the Left leader said it was not right to blame anyone without any proof. “Normally you people (reporters) guess and write about such matters. But in this case, I couldn’t find any such articles. CPI (M) MLAs will not do this,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)