Droupadi Murmu meets Bengal BJP lawmakers, assured of support

Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu being felicitated by BJP leaders in Kolkata
Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu being felicitated by BJP leaders in Kolkata

KOLKATA, July 12: NDA Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu Tuesday met BJP MPs and MLAs from West Bengal to seek their support for the July 18 election.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar and Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, along with central leaders of the party were present at the hour-long meeting held in a city hotel.
Around 65 MLAs and 16 MPs of the saffron party were present at the meeting and assured her of support in the presidential poll, according to sources in the state BJP.
Murmu is visiting various states to garner the support of lawmakers.
“All of us have assured full support to her and wished her success,” BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said.
“Our Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, who was not present at the meeting in Kolkata, has already met her in Siliguri on Monday. Other BJP who were absent were either sick or had met her in Siliguri, like our Darjeeling MLA Neeraj Zimba,” a state BJP leader said.
The party’s Bhatpara MLA Pawan Singh was not invited to the programme. His father, party MP Arjun Singh had recently switched over to the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Ghosh while speaking to reporters exuded confidence that many TMC lawmakers might vote in favour of Murmu.
“After the comment by the chief minister we are hopeful that many TMC lawmakers will vote for the NDA candidate for the presidential poll. The TMC is in a dilemma about whom to vote after Mamata Banerjee’s comment,” he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently said that Murmu, a tribal BJP leader from Odisha , could have been a consensus candidate had the saffron camp disussed it with the opposition parties before fielding her.
Senior TMC leader and state minister Firhad Hakim, however, dubbed Ghosh’s claim as “baseless”.
“TMC is a disciplined party and the party lawmakers will vote for the opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha,” he said.
Major non-BJP parties of the countrylike the Congress and TMC have named Sinha, a former union minister, as the joint nominee for the presidential election.
The BJP at present has 17 Lok Sabha MPs from West Bengal. Arjun Singh has switched over to TMC but is yet to resign as a parliamentarian.
In the 294-member West Bengal assembly the saffron camp has 75 MLAs. However, five of them have joined TMC without resigning as legislators.
Earlier in the day, Murmu visited the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda in north Kolkata. (PTI)