Staff Correspondent

DEHRA DUN: Major Gen. (Retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, the only Member of Parliament who is also a Chief Minister, led the voting process at the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha here on Thursday. Of the effective strength of 69 MLAs, all but one exercised their franchise here. Amrita Rawat, a Congress MLA, had opted to vote in Delhi, according to the Assistant Returning Officer and Vidhan Sabha Secretary Mahesh Chandra.

Polling began on a brisk note with nearly half the votes being cast by 11-30 a.m. A smiling Gen. Khanduri said: “Although you (the media) are saying Ms. Pratibha Patil is likely to win, the nation may be in for a surprise as Mr. Shekhawat is a well respected statesman enjoying much support in the electoral college.”