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Damodar Rout hints at cross voting in vice presidential polls

Bhubaneswar: Minister and senior BJD leader Damodar Rout today said MPs who ignored their party’s directive and voted for Venkaiah Naidu during Vice president poll in return of money, cannot be termed as politicians.

Talking to media, Rout said he is not sure whether cross-voting has happened or not and members of which party were involved if it happened, but if BJP has given money to MPs, it is unethical.

Commenting on BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab’s column in a daily, Rout professed he can alone bring down the number of seats of BJP from 10, which the party had won in last poll, to six in ensuing 2019 elections. “Nothing can be achieved by writing articles. He (Mahtab) should muster courage enough and face the situation,” he said.

Rout said voters will give a fitting reply to BJP as they are clever enough to judge who wants to grab power by hook or crook.

In his article, Mahtab had written that the Opposition should maintain its dignity, unless which it will be unable to retain its identity.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the remarks of Rout should not be taken seriously.

On Venkaiah Naidu’s election as Vice president of the country, Pradhan said Naidu’s win cannot be construed as just NDA’s victory as he has garnered more votes than the number of MPs the alliance has.

BJP’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh said, “If Venkaiah has got 516 votes, he might have got votes from MPs other than NDA alliance. However, I have no details as the poll process was a confidential one.”

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra expressed apprehension on cross-voting and said the same cannot be ruled out in yesterday’s vice presidential polls. He further stated, “I am skeptical about the Chief Minister’s actions. Besides, infighting exists among BJD MPs.”

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