A week after the Opposition Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha visited Bengaluru, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu met the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders in the city seeking their support in the ensuing election.
While Ms. Murmu arrived in the city by Sunday afternoon, she participated in the meeting of BJP legislators and Members of Parliament at a hotel in the evening. The BJP meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, was also attended by former Chief Ministers B.S. Yediyurappa and Jagadish Shettar, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel and a host of Ministers.
The BJP has 122 legislators (including two Independents and Speaker), 25 Lok Sabha members, and six Rajya Sabha members who are eligible to vote in the Presidential elections. The JD(S) has 32 legislators (including two who have been suspended for cross-voting during the recent Rajya Sabha elections), one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha member who can vote.
The BJP sources said that Ms. Murmu, who started her speech in Kannada, pointed at the contribution of Sangolli Rayanna, Basavanna, Kittur Rani Chennamma, and Sir M. Visveswaraya for the land, and historical contribution of Rashtrakutas, Kadamba, Chalukyas, Vijayanagar and Mysuru Wadiyar dynasties. Tracing her growth from Mayurbani in Odisha and later professional and political growth, Ms. Murmu sought votes from the legislators and MPs.
Later, the NDA Presidential candidate also met former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and JD(S) leaders at his residence in the presence of Mr. Bommai, Union Ministers Kishan Reddy and Mr. Joshi, and BJP general secretary C.T. Ravi.
While Mr. Sinha, the Opposition candidate, had not met Mr. Gowda, the JD(S) leaders had indicated that the party had found Ms. Murmu as a suitable candidate for the post, indicating their support to her. Though there is much speculation about a larger political understanding between the BJP and the JD(S), the regional party in the recent months avoided any overt understanding with the saffron party over the communal optics.
The JD(S) sources said that the meeting was fixed only after the arrival of the Presidential candidate in Bengaluru, and Ms. Murmu formally sought the support of JD(S) to her candidature. She was informed that the party will be taking the decision at the Parliamentary Board meeting during which her candidature will be discussed. “It is a pride that a person from a tribal community is the candidate and we feel it is better to support her. More or less, we will extend support to her,” JD(S) Parliamentary Board Chairman H.K. Kumaraswamy told presspersons.