SP chief unwittingly cast his vote for Sangma. But on realising his mistake, he used another ballot paper to vote for Pranab.

In a faux pas and consequent embarrassment, the Uttar Pradesh strongman, Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party is backing UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, unwittingly cast his vote in favour of the NDA-backed P.A. Sangma.

However, on realising his mistake, Mr. Yadav tore up the ballot paper and voted for Mr. Mukherjee on another ballot he obtained from the polling officer.

Protesting, the Sangma camp, in a written complaint to the Returning Officer, demanded cancellation of the second ballot paper issued to the SP chief and that the first one (though torn, it is preserved in a sealed cover by the polling staff) be considered valid.

Mr. Sangma’s election agent Satya Pal Jain said Mr. Yadav was “not entitled to another one [ballot]” under the law.

Earlier, even as the UPA was finalising its candidate, the SP chief, along with Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, created a political flutter, coming out with three names, alternative to the two suggested by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Minutes after Ms. Gandhi informed Ms. Banerjee that Mr. Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari were her party’s preferred choices,

Mr. Yadav and Ms. Banerjee floated the names of the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and the former Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee.

However, 24 hours later, much to the relief of the Congress, Mr. Yadav distanced himself from the Trinamool chief.

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