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Goa: Three Opposition MLAs Cross-Voted In Favour Of Murmu, Says Chief Minister; Remark Triggers Blame Game

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has claimed that three state legislators from the Opposition side cross-voted in favour of the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.

Goa: Three Opposition MLAs Cross-Voted In Favour Of Murmu, Says Chief Minister; Remark Triggers Blame Game
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Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has claimed that three state legislators from the Opposition side cross-voted in favour of the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.

Murmu scripted history on Thursday by becoming India's first tribal President in the one-sided contest, defeating Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. Murmu, 64, won by an overwhelming margin against Sinha after receiving over 64 percent valid votes in a day-long counting of ballots of MPs and MLAs. 

Talking to reporters on Thursday night, Sawant said the BJP and its allies have the support of 25 MLAs, but Murmu polled 28 votes from Goa.

"So it is obvious that three votes have come from the opposition. I don't know which of the MLAs supported Murmu, but I am thankful to them for their support," he said.

The chief minister expressed happiness that Murmu has been elected to the top constitutional post.

"I am proud that a tribal sister has reached the highest post in the country. All voters have supported her and she has won by over 65 percent of votes," he said.

Meanwhile, a blame game began in the opposition camp over the cross-voting charge, with the Congress claiming that its MLAs were not involved in it. 

Congress MLA Carlose Alvares Ferreira told reporters that one cannot presume that the cross-voting was from his party.

"Cross-voting could be from any other opposition party. Congress is a united force," he said.

However, Goa Forward Party (GFP) MLA Vijai Sardesai, who is in the opposition, expressed surprise over Ferreira's remark.

"The statement that Congress is united is news for me," he said, adding that everyone knows what was happening in the party and who must have cross-voted.

The claim of cross-voting has come in the wake of rumblings in Congress's state legislative wing. 

On June 10, the Congress removed its Goa MLA Michael Lobo from the post of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, accusing him and former state chief minister Digambar Kamat of conspiring against the party and "hobnobbing with the BJP" to engineer a split in the party's state legislative wing.

On June 17, Congress president Sonia Gandhi removed Kamat as a permanent invitee to the all-powerful Congress Working Committee. 

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Amit Patkar has filed a disqualification petition against Lobo and Kamat before the Assembly Speaker. 

In the Pramod Sawant-led dispensation, the ruling BJP has 20 MLAs, and the government also enjoys the support of five others - two from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents.

The Congress had won 11 seats in the assembly polls held in February this year. The GFP and the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) had won one seat each, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had bagged two seats. PTI

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