The ruling BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance will support BJP candidate Draupadi Murmu and a decision in this regard will be taken in a meeting of alliance partners, a senior member said.
Five Congress MLAs who were suspended for supporting the MDA are also likely to vote in Murmu’s favour.
He said Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has already spoken to most of the leaders of the parties and suspended Congress MLAs in the MDA and sought answers on whom the parties are supporting in the July presidential election.
He said the Chief Minister has indicated that he would soon convene a meeting in this regard to finalize the voting in favor of the consensus candidate.
“The chief minister has also indicated that he is in favor of the NDA presidential candidate, who is a woman and a tribal. They have said that it will be a proud moment for tribal communities across the country,” he said on Wednesday.
Sangma, who is the national president of the NPP, is likely to convene the MDA meeting after returning from a tour of the flood-affected areas in South Garo Hills. The Chief Minister praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet on Tuesday night for the election of NDA’s presidential candidate.
He tweeted thanking @PMOIndia, @narendramodi ji for nominating indigenous tribal woman candidate Smt Draupadi Murmu ji as Presidential candidate. It was a long cherished dream of my father Late PA Sangma to have a tribal President of our country. My best wishes to him, he said.
PA Sangma was actually the first tribal candidate to contest the presidential election in 2012. He had the support of the BJP and its allies, but lost the election to Pranab Mukherjee. The five suspended Congress MLAs who have officially supported the ruling MDA are in all likelihood to vote for Murmu.
At first we wanted to avoid voting in the presidential election because of our suspension. But when the prime minister announced Murmu as the NDA candidate, I made up my mind to vote for him, former Congress minister Amparin Lyngdoh told PTI.
She lauded the BJP for electing the first tribal woman to occupy the country’s highest constitutional post and said that she has already spoken to Konrad Sangma and conveyed her decision to him.
When asked, he said four other suspended Congress MLAs are also likely to vote for Murmu. Meghalaya’s Chief Electoral Officer FR Kharkongor said the number and value of votes of MLAs and MPs are based on the population in 1971.
“Based on the formula, the value of votes of each MLA in Meghalaya is 17 votes,” he said. He said that the total votes of the MLAs of Meghalaya are 1,020.
The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and elected members of all State Assemblies and Union Territories.
Nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils are not included in the electoral college.
President Ram Nath Kovind’s five-year term ends on July 24 and the Election Commission has fixed July 18 as the date for voting. Counting of votes will take place on July 21.
Read all the latest news, breaking news, watch top videos and watch Live TV right here.