NDA’s Presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu called on BJP allies here on Saturday and garnered their support. During her near three-hour stopover here, Murmu met the leaders of AIADMK– K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, Tamil Maanila Congress president G K Vasan, and Pattali Makkal Katchi president Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, who all extended their support.
“Though your victory becomes almost imminent, you have come all the way to Chennai to seek the support of MLAs and MPs from Tamil Nadu. It shows your simplicity and humility,” Panneerselvam said during the interaction with her. The AIADMK leader, who greeted her separately along with his followers, said had former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, an embodiment of women’s empowerment, been alive, she would have been very much happy to see Murmu as the next President of India.
Palaniswami, who is being projected as the next single leader of the AIADMK by apparently sidelining Panneerselvam, was the first leader from the State to greet Murmu with a shawl and a bouquet. He wholeheartedly pledged the AIADMK’s support for Murmu in the July 18 Presidential poll. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, who are at loggerheads over their party’s single leadership issue, met Murmu separately along with their supporters.
Murmu was accorded a warm reception at a five star hotel upon her arrival. Union Minister L Murugan, BJP president K Annamalai and party’s legislator and BJP Mahila Morcha national president Vanathi Srinivasan were among those present when Palaniswami greeted the Presidential candidate. With her election as President of India, it will be for the first time that a woman from Scheduled Tribe would be getting a chance to occupy the highest chair of India, Panneerselvam said. “It shows the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji towards the empowerment of women and downtrodden,” he said while extending his wholehearted support for her victory.
With her diverse administrative experience as Minister in the Odisha Government and as Governor of Jharkhand in the past, there was no doubt she will function as President “effectively and efficiently in accordance with the Constitution of India,” he added. PMK President Anbumani extended support to Murmu’s candidature to “uphold social justice,” a party release said.
While the AIADMK, Tamil Nadu’s main opposition has a strength of 66 MLAs in the 234-member house, allies PMK and BJP have 5 and 4 legislators, respectively, putting the NDA’s strength in the state at 75. The Presidential election will be held on July 18, 2022, with the opposition putting up former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha as its common candidate to take on Murmu. She had earlier in the day met the AINRC-led ruling NDA members at the neighbouring Puducherry union territory.