Poll panel note created confusion: Jayalalitha


Chennai : AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha said a note by the Election Commission created confusion among MPs and legislators of her party, who voted in the president election Thursday despite her earlier announcement that they would abstain.

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Except for Jayalalitha herself, all 59 MLAs of her party in Tamil Nadu, along with six of its ally, Vaiko's MDMK, voted in the election to choose India's 13th president.

In a statement issued here Thursday evening, Jayalalitha blamed the Election Commission for confusing AIADMK MPs and legislators and said she herself was away from the city in the morning.

As one of the leaders of the newly formed United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), Jayalalitha had last week announced that the alliance MPs and MLAs will abstain from voting.

Amid protests from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Election Commission had issued a statement Tuesday saying no party could issue a whip to its members regarding the voting in presidential poll.

Jayalalitha, however, said the MPs and MLAs were "unable to comprehend the ramifications" of the Election Commission's "avoidable note".

"By way of abundant caution, they themselves decided to cast their votes in the Presidential election," she added.

"The Election Commission's note created unnecessary fear and panic in their minds. There was no one to explain the correct position to them since convening of any meeting was forbidden and would be misinterpreted as issuance of a whip," she said.

Sources in other UNPA parties, however, saw a strategy behind the AIADMK voting and recalled the meeting Jayalalitha had with senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh last Friday.

Party sources also indicated that there were last-minute instructions to the AIADMK MLAs to exercise a "conscience" vote.