Opposition party MLAs who voted for Droupadi Murmu include MLAs from Congress and Trinamool Congress.
NEW DELHI: The Opposition parties failed to translate their words and meetings in to action as the result of the Presidential election that came out on Thursday proved, with at least 120 MLAs and 17 MPs from the non-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) camp voting for Droupadi Murmu, the BJP candidate.
Those opposition party MLAs who voted for Murmu include MLAs from the Congress and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), the two parties who are fighting among themselves to emerge as the leader of the Opposition parties to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
On the call of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, 17 opposition parties had come together, and after a series of much-hyped meetings in Delhi, decided on the name of former BJP leader and Union minister, Yashwant Sinha, as their common candidate to take on Murmu.
However, the mirage behind this Congress and TMC-led “opposition unity” became clear on day one with this grouping, even before the polls could take place, were not able to elicit the support of other non-NDA parties, including Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and Shiv Sena, for Sinha, thereby raising questions on the very concept of a “united opposition”, a topic which is made relevant periodically, without any real impact on the ground.
The states that saw the maximum number of cross-voting include Madhya Pradesh where the Congress has 96 MLAs. In MP, Sinha only got 79 votes, while Murmu got 146 votes in the state where the BJP has 127 MLAs.
Similarly, in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, two Congress MLAs voted for Murmu. The cross-voting in Madhya Pradesh has dented the image of former CMs Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, as both of them were responsible for stopping their party MLAs from towing the BJP’s line.
Similarly, in Assam, the Congress suffered a massive loss of face. Murmu got 104 votes in the state where the strength of the NDA is 79. Of the 27 Congress MLAs, only 20 voted for Sinha.
In neighbouring West Bengal where Mamata Banerjee rules with an iron fist, Murmu got 71 votes, one more than the BJP’s tally of 70 MLAs, indicating that one TMC MLA cross-voted. Of the 293 Assembly members, one seat is vacant, while two MLAs from the non-BJP and non-TMC did not vote.
The result of the Presidential polls had an immediate result on the “Opposition unity”, with TMC leader Mamata Banerjee announcing that her party will not support Margaret Alva, the common candidate of the opposition parties for the post of Vice President.
According to a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, the high number of cross voting in support of Murmu had surprised the party. “We knew some MLAs and MPs would vote for Murmu, considering her profile and their dislike for Sinha, but not in this quantity. The one conclusion that I can draw from this is that Congress is weakening more and more with every passing day as the cross-voting in Madhya Pradesh and Assam indicates,” he told The Sunday Guardian.
A Congress spokesperson, when reached out for comment on the matter, said he was not authorized to speak on the matter, adding that the party leadership was studying the matter.
State-wise breakup of MLAs indulging in cross-voting in support of BJP nominee Murmu: Assam 22, Madhya Pradesh 19, Maharashtra 16, Uttar Pradesh 12, Gujarat 10, Jharkhand 10, Bihar 6, Chhattisgarh 6, Rajasthan 5 and Goa 4.