Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee has fuelled speculation over the President election. The election for the next President is due in July this year.
Chief Minister and BJD president has been invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pranab Mukherjee for a meeting on Friday. Patnaik will have a lunch with the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The details of the impending meeting have, however, not been disclosed.
“I have been invited for lunch. There is no purpose of meeting with the President,” the Odisha Chief Minister told media persons before leaving for New Delhi.
The President will be meeting Naveen at the Rashtrapati Bhawan from 2 pm to 3 pm on Friday.
The Chief Minister will also attend a program of non-resident Odia forum in New Delhi. It will be attended by the President.
Sources said the support of regional parties including BJD will be crucial for the ensuing President election.
President Pranab Mukherjee is likely to seek re-election to the highest post of the country.
Regional parties like AIADMK of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress and Odisha’s BJD will play a key role in the President election. Congress party would also support Mukherjee if he contests for the top post, said sources.
Naveen’s leadership has earned BJD 20 Lok Sabha and 8 Rajya Sabha seats along with an independent Rajya Sabha member backed by BJD, making it 29 Parliament votes up BJD’s sleeve. In fact, the party’s 117 state Assembly votes are also crucial for the upcoming President election.
In 2012 President polls, BJD had supported PA Sangma and opposed Mukherjee. However, the political situation has changed drastically at the national level. NDA government led by Narendra Modi is in power at the centre. Till today, Naveen Patnaik government is indirectly supporting the NDA government at Centre.