Draupadi Murmu meets Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and seeks support

Several regional parties such as BJD, BSP and SAD have given their support to Ms. Murmu.


NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu visited Jharkhand on Monday and sought support from ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha party in addition to lawmakers and BJP parliamentarians in the state for her election as the highest office in the country.

She met with JMM Chairman, Shibu Soren, its Executive Chairman and Chief Minister, Hemant Soren, in addition to NDA MPs and State Parliamentarians.

The JMM, which has yet to announce its position on backing Ms Murmu or opposition party candidate Yashwant Sinha in the July 18 presidential elections, will make the decision this week, a party spokesperson said. .

The CM welcomed Mrs. Murmu, who is the former Governor of the State, upon her arrival. She was accompanied by labor ministers Arjun Munda, Annapurna Devi and Arjun Meghwal, as well as BJP state chairman Deepak Prakash.

“A warm welcome is extended to him (Murmu) on his arrival in the holy land of Bhagwan Birsa. Many best wishes from us to the respected Draupadi Ji,” Mr Soren said in a tweet.

Both Ms. Murmu and Mr. Soren are tribal leaders and belong to the Santhal ethnic group, which has a large population in Jharkhand as well as Odisha, where she is from.

Ms Murmu had previously called Mr Soren to seek JMM’s support for the elections.

JMM leader Lobin Hembrom said Mr Soren had been given permission by the party to speak to the Center and make the “appropriate decision” regarding backing the presidential candidate.

“He (Soren) recently met with Union Home Secretary Amit Shah and we will declare our decision very soon,” Hembrom said.

Mr Soren had met Shah and other NDA leaders in Delhi on June 27 and it was learned that they had told them the party would soon be taking a call on who to support in the presidential elections.

The meetings were held amid intense speculation over whether JMM would support Ms. Murmu or the joint opposition candidate, Mr. Sinha, who is a son of Jharkhand soil.

Reacting to Ms Murmu’s meeting with Hemant Soren and his father, State Congress Leader Rajesh Thakur said if the JMM stayed away from the UPA candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, it would not send a good message to the people of Jharkhand.

Mr Thakur, however, said everyone is free to make their own decision as the alliance in the state was forged only to contest the elections and not for any other issue including voting in the presidential elections.

Earlier, Ms. Murmu held a detailed meeting with BJP leaders including Deepak Prakash (MP RS), former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, National Vice President Raghubar Das and union ministers Arjun Munda and Annapurna Devi.

BJP leaders said Ms Murmu recalled how Prime Minister Narendra Modi trusted her.

Saffron party leaders also mentioned that the prime minister told Ms Murmu that the constitution would guide her and show her the right way as she wondered if she would be able to do justice to her responsibility.

The leaders quoted Ms Murmu as saying that the prime minister assured her that the whole country was with her and that she would be able to take responsibility for how she delivered justice to the governorship of Jharkhand.

Ms. Murmu and Mr. Sinha are the only two remaining in the race for the presidency after the end of the last day for the withdrawal of the nomination on Saturday.

Several regional parties such as BJD, BSP and SAD have given their support to Ms. Murmu. The numbers are stacked in favor of whoever should comfortably win the polls.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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