An unusual traveller will take flight from Mumbai airport for the Capital tomorrow morning to determine whether Pranab Mukherjee or Purno Agitok Sangma will be the next addressee at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The name on the air ticket is Mr Ballot Box.
“After the voting for the presidential elections take place between 10 am and 5 pm on Thursday, the ballot box will be kept in a strong room before it is ferried to Delhi on Friday morning by air. As per the instructions of the election commission the ballot box will be under vigil of two officials who will take it to the national capital. A ticket had to be purchased in the name of Mr Ballot Box as it will not go in the luggage but will occupy a seat like any other passenger, while on the way to the Capital,” said Dr Anant Kalse, who is officiating as the assistant returning officer for the state-level process of voting for the election.
The central hall at Vidhan Bhavan is ready for the big day.
In a bid to garner maximum votes for UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan held discussions with leaders of various political parties.
He had a telephonic conversation with MNS chief Raj Thackeray and appealed for the support of his 12 MLAs. As per the rules only members of state assemblies cast their votes in the presidential polls. While MLAs exercise their right in state capitals, members of parliament can vote in New Delhi or state capitals with prior intimation.
Nine MPs from the state – Anil Desai, Sanjay Raut, Shivajirao Adhalrao, Anand Paranjpe and Gajanan Babar (all Shiv Sena), Y P Trivedi and Sanjiv Naik (NCP), Pratap Sonawane and Harishchandra Chavan (BJP) – have communicated that they will cast their votes in Mumbai, sources from the state legislature secretariat said. As per the system in place, valuation of the vote of an MLA from the state comes to 175. This is based on population according to the 1971 census, divided by total number of members, multiplied by 1000. So, the total value of the votes of 288 MLAs comes to 50,400.
Congress has deputed Vishnu Prasad, former MP from Assam, as the party observer for the polls. A meeting of party MLAs was convened on Wednesday evening to discuss the election preparations and voting.