Presidential election begins in India

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah in New Delhi on Monday

The NCP, it may be noted, is actually supporting Kovind's rival Kumar.

The seven legislators including six TMC MLAs and one Congress MLA of the Tripura assembly had cast their votes in favour of Ram Nath Kovind.

Praful Patel, had been reacting to the reports by a private news channel.

NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind is being supported by the ruling BJD in Odisha. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, accompanied by ministers, welcomed Kovind and assured him of full support of state's representatives.

Addressing the representatives assembled at the CM's residence, Kovind enumerated his priorities if he becomes president of the India.

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During his visit to all the states, Kovind, who is a consensus NDA candidate, has received overwhelming support from everybody, Gadkari claimed. Kovind, formerly the governor of Bihar, appears to have the numbers on his side - nearly 40 parties, including non-NDA parties, have pledged their support for him. Backing Kumar, the CPI (M) urged voters, comprising MPs and MLAs, to pick the "custodian of the Constitution" thoughtfully and while voting listen to the voice of conscience.

On the other hand, 124 legislators of the 126-member Assam assembly and three MPs of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had cast their votes in the Assam assembly on Monday. Taking the JD (U)'s cue, other parties had later lined up behind Kovind.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Union minister Praful Patel seemed to bolster the prevailing belief when he said he was quite sure Kovind would win the election.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have casted their votes at the Parliament early morning and also addressed media wishing both the contesting candidates good luck. In a career spanning over two decades, he has been elected twice to the Upper House of Parliament and served as national spokesperson of the BJP.

Counting of votes will take place on July 20 in New Delhi where all the ballot boxes will be brought from various state capitals. Lok Sabha Secretary General has been appointed returning officer for the presidential election.

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