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At least 72 per cent turnout in Presidential poll

July 20, 2012 00:49 IST

At least 72 per cent of MPs and MLAs across the country on Thursday voted to elect a new President in a race in which United Progressive Alliance nominee Pranab Mukherjee is set to win with a huge margin over P A Sangma who is backed by some opposition parties.

As many as 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs with a total vote value of 10.98 lakh votes were eligible to cast their ballot in the election.

As per information received from 22 states, 2937 MLAs and 40 MPs had cast their votes.

As per information received from 22 states excluding Delhi, the turnout in the election is 72 per cent.

Information was yet to be received from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha and Tripura, Rajya Sabha Secretary General and Returning Officer for the poll V K Agnihotri told reporters.

In Parliament, where 699 MPs and eight MLAs were eligible to exercise their franchise, the turnout was 96.60 per cent with key leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP veteran L K Advani, Mukherjee and Rahul Gandhi voting before noon.

Of the 707 eligible to cast their vote in Parliament, 683 electors--675 MPs and 8 MLAs--cast their ballots when the polling ended at 5 pm.

The counting of votes will be taken up on Sunday at 11 am.

In Parliament House, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose party is supporting the UPA candidate, mistakenly cast his vote in favour of Sangma. He later tore off the first ballot paper.

The SP chief marked his correct preference on the fresh ballot paper issued to him by the polling officer. However,

Bharatiya Janata Party demanded that Yadav's second ballot paper be cancelled and the Sangma camp said it would approach the Election Commission over the issue.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who had announced her party's support for Mukherjee almost at the last minute, also cast her ballot at the state assembly in Kolkata and displayed victory sign.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Forward Bloc have announced their support for Mukherjee while two other Left Front constituents CPI and Revolutionary Socialist Party  decided to abstain from voting.

With CPI and RSP abstaining, a total of 124 of the 140 MLAs of Congress-led UDF ruled Kerala cast their votes in the state captial.

In Odisha, suspended Biju Janata Dal MLA Prabhat Biswal's vote in presidential election was rejected for allegedly showing the ballot paper after voting as polling in the 147-member state assembly was under way.

Altogether 80 out of 81 MLAs in Jharkhand assembly voted with ruling BJP alone among alliance partners backing Sangma.

Former Chief Minister Madhu Koda, an MP, who is in judicial custody, also cast his vote.

A total 240 of the 243 MLAs of Bihar assembly cast their votes with the majority of them supporting UPA-backed Pranab Mukherjee.

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