Cross-voters may change party, Gujarat Congress says after Murmu's victory

A day after several opposition MPs and MLAs crossvoted in favour of Droupadi Murmu in the Presidential polls, Congress leaders admitted there is no way to find out who went against the party’s direction. The party was worst-hit by cross-voting in MP as the opposition’s presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha received only 79 votes against Congress’s tally of 96 in the assembly. However, it is difficult to identify the 17 MLAs who went against the party. “It could have been anyone. The culprits may be thinking they will get away clean while tribal MLAs are blamed for the cross-voting,” said multiple sources in Congress.
A senior Congress leader from Jharkhand, where seven of its lawmakers are believed to have voted for Murmu, said that unlike the Rajya Sabha polls, voters in the presidential elections need not intimate their party’s poll observers. Jharkhand PCC chief Rajesh Thakur said the party would summon all its MLAs in Ranchi next week and talk to them one-on-one to find out who defied the party line.
Congress’s problems are compounded in states like Gujarat, which go to polls later this year. Though seven Congress MLAs cross-voted in favour of Murmu, the party is wary of even conducting an exercise to identify them. State Congress chief Jagdish Thakor said this will amount to ‘doubting the loyalty’ of all the MLAs. “No action is being taken as of now. It is clear that the MLAs who cross-voted will shift allegiance to BJP sooner or later,” he said. In Chhattisgarh, where two Congress MLAs defied the party line, it is impossible to identify the duo. Almost a third of Congress’s 71 MLAs in the state belong to tribal communities.
Assam reported the highest cross voting from the opposition — 22 — in favour of Murmu. However, there is no clarity on how many of these are from Congress. In UP, BJP managed to wean away at least five MLAs from SP-led opposition to vote for Murmu. While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav had announced his support for Murmu, there is no clarity about the remaining four MLAs who cross-voted.
In Bihar, eight MLAs from the RJD-led opposition camp cross-voted for Murmu.
In Odisha, a day after Congress MLA Mohammed Moquim openly declared his support to Murmu, the PCC on Friday served him with a show cause notice, accusing him of carrying out propaganda against the “programmes and decisions of Congress”.

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