Prez polls: Naveen Patnaik urges all Odisha MLAs to back Murmu; Sonia Gandhi receives a similar appeal

Updated on Jun 22, 2022 09:46 PM IST

Former Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu, 64, is the first tribal woman candidate to be named as a presidential candidate.

Droupadi Murmu is the BJP-headed NDA's presidential candidate.
Droupadi Murmu is the BJP-headed NDA's presidential candidate.
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday renewed his support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu and urged all lawmakers in Assembly “cutting across party lines” to extend their support to the state’s daughter.

“Appeal all the members of Odisha Legislative Assembly, cutting across party lines, to extend unanimous support to elect the daughter of Odisha - Smt Draupadi Murmu to the country’s highest office,” Patnaik wrote in a tweet.

Soon after BJP national president JP Nadda announced Murmu's name on Tuesday as the NDA's pick for the forthcoming presidential elections, the Odisha CM congratulated his fellow citizen. Patnaik said he was “delighted” when Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed Murmu’s candidature with him.

“It is indeed a proud moment for the people of Odisha. I am sure Murmu will set a shining example of women empowerment in the country,” Patnaik wrote last night on Twitter.

The BJD boss was not the only person who urged his state legislators from across parties to support Murmu in the presidential polls. BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh on Wednesday urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to back the ruling NDA nominee as well.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Singh said that there cannot be a bigger example of empowerment of women and the tribal community than Murmu holding the top constitutional post in India.

“The Congress too should support her. Every opposition party should support her,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

He said the Opposition that has fielded former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate for the presidential polls should rethink their decision as politics in everything is not good.

Singh said that earlier too the BJP-led NDA had named the incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind as the candidate for the post, who hailed from a Dalit community. He added that nominating Murmu, who is the first tribal woman candidate for the president's post since 75 years of India's independence, has sent out a message for the empowerment of minority communities in the country. Singh added that Murmu is now India's “pride”.

Also Read | Presidential poll: JMM in dilemma, likely to support NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu

The 64-year-old NDA candidate has served as the first woman governor of Jharkhand between 2015 and 2021. Starting her career as a teacher, Murmu began her political run after being elected to the local body of Rairangpur. She entered the Odisha Assembly in 2000 on a BJP ticket and served as a minister between 2000 and 2004 in the BJP-BJD coalition government.

Earlier in the day, Bihar ruling Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) and Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, or HAM-S extended their support to Murmu for the presidential elections. Like Patnaik, his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar also thanked Modi for nominating Murmu as the presidential candidate.

“On Tuesday night, PM Narendra Modi called to convey this decision. I thank the PM from the core of my heart for this decision,” Kumar said, according to a statement by the chief minister's office (CMO).

Murmu has been accorded Z+ category security cover by the BJP-led Centre. Armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Odisha have already begun to provide her security all over the country.

The presidential polls will take place on July 18, and nominations for the same can be filed till June 29. The results of the polls will be announced on July 21.

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