Draupadi Murmu to be in Kolkata to seek support
Kolkata, July 11 (IANS) Presidential candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Draupadi Murmu will arrive in Kolkata Monday night to campaign for her candidature and has a packed schedule on Tuesday.
She was originally scheduled to visit Kolkata on July 9. However, that programme was cancelled at the last moment following the national mourning observed for the day following the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It is learnt that Murmu will start her day on Tuesday with a visit to the ancestral residence of Swami Vivekananda at Simla Street in North Kolkata. Thereafter, she will have a meeting with 16 elected Lok Sabha members and 69 elected MLAs of the BJP from West Bengal.
Currently, the numerical strength of the BJP is 70. However, the state BJP leadership has deliberately kept the party's elected legislators from the Bhatpara Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district, Pawan Singh, out of the list of MLAs who will be attending the meeting with Murmu.
Singh is the son of erstwhile BJP Lok Sabha member from Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas district, Arjun Singh, who has recently gone back to the Trinamool Congress. State BJP sources said since the time Arjun Singh joined the Trinamool Congress, his son is yet to make his stand clear on whether he will continue with the BJP or follow the footsteps of his father and, hence he has been kept out of the list.
However, Murmu's schedule on Tuesday has no programme on any possible visit to the state Assembly, which was there in the schedule on July 9.
Incidentally, while Murmu will be in Kolkata Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be in the hills of Darjeeling to attend the function on formation of the new board of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
Incidentally, the chief minister recently said that she could have considered supporting Murmu, a woman candidate with tribal background, had the BJP informed her about its choice of presidential candidate before. However, she added that since Yashwant Sinha has already been fielded as a joint opposition candidate she alone cannot take a decision on the change of choice. Her comments have already faced criticisms from Congress and the CPI-M, who unconditionally supported Sinha despite his past association with both the BJP and Trinamool Congress.