Draupadi Murmu likely to visit Kolkata on Saturday for campaigning

by IANS |

Kolkata, July 6 (IANS) National Democratic Alliance (NDA)'s presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu is likely to visit Kolkata on Saturday to seek support for her candidature.

During her day-long visit, she will have a close-door meeting with 69 elected party legislators in the state. The state BJP leadership has deliberately kept the party MLA from Bhatpara Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district, Pawan Singh out of that list, state BJP sources said. 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 camp of his old party, Trinamool Congress.

A state committee member of BJP told IANS, on condition of anonymity, till the time Arjun Singh joined Trinamool Congress, Pawan Singh is yet to make his official stand clear on whether he will be with BJP or follow the footsteps of his father. In such a situation, the state BJP leadership thought it wise to keep him out of the list of MLAs who will be having the meeting with NDA's presidential candidate.

The leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari has instructed all the MLAs concerned to be present at the MLA Hostel in central Kolkata by 7.30 a.m. on Saturday, so that they can be taken directly from there to a hotel at New Town in the northern outskirts of Kolkata, where the said meeting will start from 9 a.m. The party MLAs staying out of Kolkata have been asked to reach the city by Friday night.

In the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls, a total of 77 BJP candidates got elected. However, currently, the number is reduced to 70 as a number of MLAs have joined Trinamool Congress, although officially as per official records of the state Assembly they continue to be BJP legislators.

However, party sources said that in all probability, 68 party MLAs will be present at the meeting, since BJP legislator and former chief economic advisor of the country Ashok Lahiri might not be able to attend the meeting on health grounds and currently he is out of town for treatment purposes.

There is a possibility that Murmu might go to the state assembly. Although nothing has been confirmed from the chief minister's office as yet, there is also a faint possibility of Murmu's meeting with the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. Recently, the chief minister said that she could have taken a positive approach about Draupadi Murmu had BJP informed her about the choice before.

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