Bhubaneswar: Suspended BJD MLA Prabhat Biswal's vote in presidential election was rejected for allegedly showing the ballot paper after voting as polling in the 147-member Odisha assembly was under way on Thursday.
The vote of Biswal, suspended from the ruling BJD for anti-party activities after the failed coup bid against the Naveen Patnaik Government in May, was rejected by Presiding Officer Amiya Sarangi.
Biswal's vote was rejected on the ground that his ballot paper was shown to the presiding officer after the legislator from Cuttack-Chowdwar had cast his vote, Sarangi said adding that as per rules one cannot show the ballot paper before dropping it in the box.
Biswal, however, claimed that the ballot paper needed to be folded four times before being dropped in the box while he had folded it twice and would have completed the process before putting it in the box. "It was not a deliberate act. It simply did not occur to me," Biswal said.
BJD's agent present in the polling booth also did not raise any objection to the decision of the presiding officer to reject Biswal's vote. Another suspended MLA of BJD Bibhuti Balabantray, however, voted smoothly.