Jaganís party declares support for Pranab, TDP to abstain

With a CBI special court granting permission to release YSR Congress Party chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy from jail for a couple of hours, the Election Commission has allowed him to vote in the Presidential election on Thursday. The court has directed the state police chief to make adequate security arrangements as Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan will be escorted out of the Chanchalguda Jail and taken to the Assembly Complex for the voting.

Former minister Mopidevi Venkataramana Reddy, who was arrested along with the YSRCP chief in the illegal assets case, has also been allowed to cast his vote.

The YSRCP has a total of 17 MLAs and two MPs and all of them will vote for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee. Though the YSRCP is against the Congress, it cannot risk voting in favour of BJP-backed P A Sangma as it may send wrong signals to its large minority support base.

YSRCP leaders led by honorary president Y S Vijayalakshmi held a meeting with all MLAs on Wednesday and decided to vote for the UPA nominee. "We will vote in the interest of the nation and we are confident that Pranab Mukherjee will be fair towards everyone and do justice to the post," party MP from Nellore Mekapati Rajmohan Reddy said after the meeting. The party said Pranab Mukherjee, during his visit to Hyderabad, had called on Vijayalakshmi and sought her support. The YSRCP has also decided to back UPA's Hamid Ansari for the post of Vice-President.

The ruling Congress also called a meeting for all its MLAs to explain to them the procedure of voting in Thursday's Presidential poll. AICC secretary K Krishna Murthy made a demonstration of the procedure and issued instructions to the MLAs.

Opposition Telugu Desam has decided to abstain from voting. In a statement, party president N Chandrababu Naidu said while it was not acceptable for the party to vote for the UPA candidate, the party would not support P A Sangma either because he was backed by the "communal" BJP. Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which has 11 MLAs and two MPs, too, has also decided to abstain from voting.

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