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Pranab in UP to garner support

The ruling UPA’s Presidential candidate, Pranab Mukherjee often hailed the president-in-waiting, came wooing Uttar Pradesh MLAs and MPs, here in Lucknow on Tuesday.

lucknow Updated: Jul 03, 2012 16:12 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal

The ruling UPA’s Presidential candidate, Pranab Mukherjee often hailed the president-in-waiting, came wooing Uttar Pradesh MLAs and MPs, here in Lucknow on Tuesday.

An MLA of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP quoted Pranab as saying: "once elected, I would keep Uttar Pradesh in mind. I will visit you yet again once elected."

Pranab said this at the luncheon meet hosted by the UP chief minister and SP state president Akhilesh Yadav at his official residence. Akhilesh said: "He (Pranab) is the President elect and not the presidential candidate".

The SP national president Mulyam Singh Yadav said: "UP has nearly 2 lakh of the total over 11 lakh votes in the electoral college. SP commits 1.6 lakh votes to him."

Most of the SP MLAs, MPs, most of the Congress MLAs, some MPs and three central minister from UP were at the luncheon.

Pranab drove straight to Mulyam Singh Yadav's residence from airport and then reached the CM's residence. The meeting and lunch lasted nearly an hour. Pranab then went over to the Taj hotel with Congress leaders.

He would meet the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and her MLAs and MPs and before this the Congress MLAs and MPs at the Taj.

Uttar Pradesh, always considered as the politically most important state in the country, perhaps was never as crucial for Pranab as now. Pranab is now on out to garner support for himself and moving from state to state.

The election for the President of India involves proportional representation of respective states. UP forms the biggest chunk of the electoral collage for the election. Of the total 10.98 lakh votes in the electoral college for the presidential election, UP holds 1.62 lakh.

Pranab’s very own Congress that leads the UPA government is modest with arrangements for him—it is hosting a tea at the hotel Taj while there were lavish arrangements from the SP side and the BSP. The Rashtriya Lok Dal MLAs too would attend the Congress tea.

Post-dinner Pranab would fly off to Delhi. On arrival the Congress has organized a welcome for Pranab. It would be the UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi accompanied by some MLAs and large number of party workers would greet him at the airport.

Senior Congress leaders Rajeev Shukla and BK Hariprasad accompany Pranab from Delhi and back.

Pranab has already canvassed in Tamil Nadu (Chennai) and Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) and after Lucknow he would go to Kerala on Wednesday.

Pranab expects to get all the votes UP barring those related to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 47 MLAs, 10 Lok Sabha and 2 Rajya Sabha members.