First to back P A Sangma, a tribal and minority leader for the Presidential contest, the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha on Thursday hoped for a miracle in his favour as polling for the top post ended at the state assembly.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress were among the 145 legislators who cast their votes while only two MLAs did not exercise their franchise.
An ailing tribal Congress legislator Basudev Majhi from Kotapad in Koraput district, who was taken in a stretcher to the assembly premises, could not vote as he was not in a condition to do so as presiding officer did not allow someone else to vote on his behalf.
The lone Communist Party of India member Adikanda Sethi, however, refrained from voting as decided by his party earlier. The BJD-backed Independent Rajya Sabha MP A V Swamy was the lone Member of Parliament who cast his vote at the assembly.
Anjali Behera, Sarada Nayak and Sanjiv Sahu (the trio was recently dropped from the Naveen ministry after the May 29 coup bid) and also two suspended MLAs voted.
"I have voted for Sangma as per the decision of the party," Anjali Behera said, adding that she was hopeful of the tribal leader's victory.
Though all the 108-BJD MLAs claimed that they voted in favour of Sangma and claimed no cross voting by the party legislators.
Asked whether Sangma could win, BJD vice-president and former minister A U Singhdeo said, "We expect miracle. As long as God is there, miracle is possible. Many people have voted according to their conscience."