Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik, in a masterstroke move, urged all members of the state Assembly to extend unanimous support to Droupadi Murmu as the presidential candidature as she is the “daughter of Odisha”. The Congress in Odisha on Thursday said it will not support Murmu, NDA nominee in the Presidential elections, claiming that she believes in the ideology of the BJP and the RSS.
Acting on the directive from CM Patnaik, two cabinet ministers from Odisha signed the nomination paper of NDA Presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu in New Delhi on Thursday.
Water Resources, Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu and Law Minister Jagannath Sarka have signed the nomination papers of Murmu, who will be present during the filing of the nomination on Friday. The direction from Patnaik came after a discussion with BJP chief JP Nadda.
State BJP welcomed the move and thanked to CM Naveen Pattanaik for the suggestion.
BJD Vice President Debi Prasad Mishra said that Prime Minister Modi briefed Naveen Patnaik. “The CM has always emphasized on empowerment of women.
CM Patnaik has supported NDA’s decision and appealed to all to extend their support to Draupadi Murmu. Party’s stand is very clear. State’s interest is the top priority for BJD. CM Patnaik takes right decision at the right time in any national issues,” he said.
Sundargarh BJP MLA Kusum Tete said it was a “proud moment” for tribal people in the state. “It’s a proud moment for us. NDA has given priority to tribal woman for selecting Murmu for the highest constitutional post of the country. Thanks to CM Patnaik for extending support and appealing all to support Darupadi. I am especially happy as a tribal lady and feeling proud as her proposer,” said Tete.
Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra said, “We will not back her candidature as she believes in the ideology of the RSS and the BJP. The people of this ideology killed Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress would never support it.”
The CLP leader said that he knows Murmu in person and their equation is also good, but the party cannot support her. The Congress has nine MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly and one Lok Sabha MP in the state.
Mishra described as a “gimmick” Patnaik’s appeal to all MLAs of Odisha to support Murmu. Claiming that the BJP and the BJD are like two sides of a coin, Mishra said, “If the chief minister has so much love for Odisha and Odias, why did he send a non-Odia to the Rajya Sabha? Were there no deserving Odia candidates?” He was referring to the BJD’s support to BJP candidate Ashwini Vaishnav, a former Odisha cadre IAS officer, in the 2019 Rajya Sabha election.
Earlier in the day, Murmu arrived in Delhi a day before the nomination filing for the post.