In a major setback for the Congress, its Barapati Cuttack MLA Mohammad Moghim voted for NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu during the presidential election, defying the party faction’s decision to back opposition favorite Yashwant Sinha.
Voting to elect India’s new President began on Monday in the Odisha Assembly complex. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was one of the early arrivals. He cast his vote at 10:15 a.m., when polling began at 10:00 a.m.
In Odisha, the ruling BJD is backing NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu, who is contesting against Yashwant Sinha, with the support of opposition parties.
Speaking to India Today, Mohammad Moghim said, “We have not been told to vote for any candidate. It was the first time that any adivasi woman from Odisha was fielded as a candidate, so I voted for her.
“I chose the daughter of the soil for the highest constitutional post in the country,” said Moghim.
On whether he was upset about not being appointed PCC president of the state, Moghim reiterated, “That is a different topic. I will discuss this in the party forum. I have been getting calls from various walks of life to support Draupadi Murmu of Odisha.
Meanwhile, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Sarath Pattanaik, responding to cross-polling by its MLAs, said, “Our high command has been informed that Mohim voted against the party’s decision.”
Patnaik had earlier met all the party legislators after returning from Delhi and informed them about the high command’s decision to vote for opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. He asserted that there was no split in the party and that all nine MLAs, including two tribal legislators, would vote for UPA presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha.
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