Bhubaneswar & New Delhi: Voting for the election of the 14th President of India began at Room No. 54 of the Odisha Assembly at 10 am today. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and many MLAs reached the Assembly to exercise their right to vote.
The 30-party National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind, ex-Governor of Bihar, and a dalit, is pitted against the 17-party opposition UPA’s candidate Meira Kumar. Meira Kumar is a former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and also a dalit from Bihar while Ram Nath Kovind hails from Uttar Pradesh.
Security arrangements have been tightened in and around the assembly for the polling and the lawmakers are expected to show their identity proofs before entering the polling booth. No mobile phone or camera is allowed into the room. The voting will continue till 5 pm.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra was the first to cast his vote followed by deputy leader of the Congress Legislature Party Chiranjib Biswal and Congress MLAs Debendra Sharma and Naba Kishore Das.
Reports said that 33 observers have been appointed all over the country by the Election Commission of India to monitor the exercise. While two observers are deployed at the Parliament, all others are at the State Assemblies.
After completion of casting of votes, the ballot boxes will be taken by the observers to New Delhi by flight.
The result will be out on July 20. Of course it is apparent that NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind who enjoys over 50 per cent of votes is going to be the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The present incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, will demit office on July 25.