Kovind to campaign in M’laya, HSPDP to abstain from voting
Shillong, July 6 (IANS): NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind will arrive here in Congress-ruled state of Meghalaya on Friday to seek support for his candidature. The opposition Hill State Democratic People’s Party (HSPDP), which has four legislators, on Thursday decided to abstain from voting in the July 7 presidential poll.
“We have decided to abstain from voting in this presidential election against the anti-minority stand of the NDA’s presidential candidate (Ram Nath Kovind). We will not vote either for Meira Kumar as the Congress has failed to govern the country for several decades,” HSPDP chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit told IANS.
Kovind’s visit to Meghalaya is significant coming as it does in the wake of his rival candidate Meira Kumar claiming that the United Democratic Party (UDP), a constituent of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, has pledged to support her in the presidential elections.But UDP chief Donkupar Roy, who is also Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, denied pledging support to the opposition-backed Congress candidate and said that “it is better to go by the winner”. Kovind, former Governor of Bihar who was nominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party as the ruling alliance’s presidential nominee, would address Meghalaya legislators at the Orchid Lake Resort in Umiam in Ri-Bhoi district.
The opposition National People’s Party, which has two members in the 60-member house, had announced its support to Kovind. The party is an ally of the BJP-led NDA government. “We will also attend Kovind’s meeting tomorrow. The legislature party of UDP will be meeting soon and decide accordingly,” Roy told IANS.
The UDP has eight legislators in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. The ruling Meghalaya United Alliance has 44 members — 30 Congress, two Nationalist Congress Party, 11 Independents and one of the North East Socialist Democratic Party. Two other Independents are in the opposition.
However, the Congress may lose the precious vote of one suspended Congress legislator P.N. Syiem during the presidential poll. Under the presidential election system, the total value of the votes from the 60 legislators of the Meghalaya assembly and three members of Parliament (two Lok Sabha members and one Rajya Sabha member) will be 3,144.
While the vote value of 60 legislators is 1,020, that of three parliamentarians — Conrad Sangma (NPP), Vincent Pala and Wansuk Syiem (both from Congress) — is 2,124. The value of the vote of an individual MLA from Meghalaya is 17 each due to the small population size, while that of an MP is 708 each, which is the same all over the country.