The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Charkhari, Uma Bharti was among the 401 MLAs from Uttar Pradesh who cast their votes in the presidential poll in Lucknow on Thursday. Two others, Mahesh Sharma of the BJP and Sudesh Sharma of Rashtriya Lok Dal, cast their votes in the Parliament House in New Delhi. All the 403 MLAs exercised their franchise in the election.

Voting here was held at the Tilak Hall in the Sachivalaya. The value of an MLA’s vote is 208.

Ms. Bharti, who skipped the budget session of the Assembly, made her maiden appearance since becoming MLA. She told reporters that as she was busy with preparations for the soon-to-be launched “Ganga Bachao Abhiyan” of the BJP, she was unable to attend the session.

Voting began at 10 a.m and Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey was the first to cast his vote. Principal Secretary of the Vidhan Sabha and Joint Returning Officer Pradeep Kumar Dubey said polling was completed at 3.30 p.m. Later, the ballot boxes were sealed in the presence of Election Commission Observer A.T. Jyora Prasad and the polling agents of the two contestants, Pranab Mukherjee and P.A. Sangma, and kept in a strong room. Mr. Dubey said the ballot boxes would be sent to Parliament on Friday.

Meanwhile, another former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, thanked the Samajwadi Party for extending support to Mr. Mukherjee. He defended Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav, saying he should be given time. “I have been a Chief Minister and I know it takes time to dig in,” he added.

The partywise break-up in the Assembly is as follows: the Samajwadi Party 224, Bahujan Samaj Party 80, Bharatiya Janata Party 47, Congress 28, RLD 8, Peace Party 4, Quami Ekta Dal 2, Apna Dal 1, TMC 1 and Independents 8.

More In: National | News