New Delhi, July 20: Mulayam Singh Yadav’s momentary lapse of concentration has cost UPA President candidate Pranab Mukherjee one vote. The Election Commission has declared his ballot paper invalid.
During polling in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, the Samajwadi Party leader — despite a Rs 45,000-crore central largesse to Uttar Pradesh — had mistakenly voted for P.A. Sangma whose name appeared on top of the ballot paper. Mukherjee’s name appeared second.
Mulayam tore up the ballot paper as soon as he realised his mistake and voted afresh for Mukherjee on another ballot paper issued to him on the spot by the returning officer.
On a complaint by Sangma’s polling agent, Satyapal Jain, a former BJP MP, the Election Commission today said none of the two ballot papers could be counted.
The commission said that issue of a second ballot paper to Mulayam was not “warranted” under Rule 15 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Rules, 1974.
The Telugu Desam today suspended four rebel legislators — Venugopalachari, Hareswar Reddy, Balanagi Reddy and C. Ramakotaiah — from the party for voting for Mukherjee. The Desam had boycotted the polls.