Bengaluru: Though poll pundits have predicted the victory of NDA candidate Ramanath Kovind in the presidential election, UPA candidate Meira Kumar is all set to take a clear lead in Karnataka.
Of the 224 votes in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 222 were polled. Prakash Hukkeri, Congress MP from Chikkodi, cast his vote in Bengaluru after getting special permission.
Rebel JD(S) MLA Cheluvarayaswamy, who is on a private tour of US, did not cast his vote. JD(S) MLA Y.S.V. Datta, who lost his sister recently, also did not exercise his franchise.
Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy, who has fractured his right leg, and Belur MLA Rudresh Gowda, who is ill, were brought to the venue on wheelchairs.
While the Congress and JD(S) MLAs, including the rebels, supported Ms Kumar, three independent MLAs and 44 BJP MLAs backed Mr Kovind. Ms Kumar is expected to get 160 votes from Karnataka.
Polling began at 10 am and BJP MLA C T Ravi was the first to cast his vote. By afternoon, most of the legislators had exercised their franchise. The last to cast their vote were former ministers Qamarul Islam and Satish Jarkiholi.
Earlier in the day, the Congress, BJP and the JD(S) held separate legislature party meetings and briefed the legislators about voting norms.
NDA’s pick for V-P, Venkaiah is three-time RS member from Karnataka
National Democratic Alliance’s vice-presidential candidate and Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has hogged the national limelight ever since he was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time from Karnataka in April 1998.
Though he hails from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Naidu represented Karnataka from 1998 to 2010, and almost made it for a record fourth term in 2016. His candidature, however, was opposed by Kannada leaders within the state unit of the BJP. Subsequently, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.
Ahead of his elevation to the Rajya Sabha, then BJP president L.K. Advani appointed Mr Naidu as the party’s general secretary in 1994, recognizing his performance in the youth wing. He served as general secretary till 2000. In 2002, he took over as president of the BJP. In 2004, he secured a second term as party president.
Besides, Mr. Naidu also served as Union RDPR minister in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.
During his long tenure in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Naidu accorded priority for expeditious completion of Namma Metro project. Besides he has given utmost importance to state’s proposals for ‘Smart City’ and ‘Amrut City’ projects, says BJP spokesperson Prakash Sesharaghvachar.
Describing Mr. Naidu’s style of functioning, he said both as party leader and Union minister, Mr. Naidu remained an active politician, and highlighted achievements of the NDA government through interactions with the media.
Bengaluru Central MP P.C Mohan, an aid of Mr Venkaiah Naidu said: “It is 100 per cent sure that Mr. Naidu is going to be elected the new vice-president of India. It is a privilege for Karnataka that he will be elevated as vice-president,” Mr. Mohan told DC, adding that he donned the role a trouble-shooter many times to resolve crisis in the state unit of the BJP.