MLAs come out of jail to vote

ST Correspondent
Tuesday, 18 July 2017

“I am being targeted for political purpose. I said that in court and also before my arrest. But I have faith in the judiciary. I will be cleared of all charges one day,” said Bhujbal.

Mumbai: Two MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) came out of jail to vote in the Presidential election here on Monday.

Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramesh Kadam, both who are currently in the custody for various corruption offences, stepped out of jail, after a long time, for the Presidential election.

Bhujbal was taken to the State legislature building in an ambulance as his health condition was not good, while Ramesh Kadam was brought in a police van. However, both the leaders refused to speak to the assembled media before or after casting their votes.

Bhujbal has been in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody for nearly 18 months for involvement in various alleged corruption and money-laundering cases.

Kadam has been in the custody for about two years on charges of alleged embezzlement of Rs 141 crore from a State-run finance corporation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

The ailing Bhujbal appealed to the Special Court in Mumbai and was granted permission to go and cast his vote in the Presidential election.
Similarly, Kadam was also granted permission by the concerned authorities to step out of prison for a few hours and exercise his franchise.

The voting for the presidential election started at the Vidhan Bhawan at 10 am with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis among the other voters.
Former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar also reached the polling centre early to cast his vote.

There are 288 MLAs in Maharashtra, who are eligible to vote in the election. But Kshitij Thakur is abroad and could not attend the voting procedure. The total votes cast in the presidential election is 287.
Besides, there are 48 Lok Sabha MPs and 19 Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra. Only MP from Rajya Sabha Sanjay Kakde cast his vote in Mumbai.

Bhujbal was visiting Vidhan Bhavan for first time since Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him on March 14, 2016. While returning from voting, Bhujbal said to NCP leaders and others that he is innocent and will prove it.

“My only wish is, God should give me that much of life span, so I can prove myself innocent. I will be acquitted of all charges,” said Bhujbal.
“I am being targeted for political purpose. I said that in court and also before my arrest. But I have faith in the judiciary. I will be cleared of all charges one day,” said Bhujbal.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Kadam said that he cast his vote for NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

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