NDA presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu is likely to begin campaigning from July 1 from a state with a sizeable tribal population, sources said on Sunday. They said discussions are being held to finalise the state from where she will launch her campaign for the July 18 presidential election.
In the meantime, Murmu is reaching out to leaders of various parties over phone to seek their support. She is likely to call up the leaders of opposition parties such as the DMK which is in power in Tamil Nadu and Telangana’s ruling TRS in the coming days, the sources said.
Murmu had called up JMM supremo and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Saturday seeking his party’s support for her candidature. Before filing her nomination papers on June 24, Murmu had dialled Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and sought their support.
Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha and former governor of Jharkhand, had filed her nomination on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over her papers to Returning Officer P C Mody. She was accompanied by a host of Union ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and BJP president J P Nadda.
Several chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Manohar Lal Khattar, Jairam Thakur, Pushkar Singh Dhami, and leaders of some NDA supporting parties such as YSRCP, BJD, and AIADMK were also present during her nomination filing. With the Mayawati-led BSP, Odisha’s ruling BJP and the YSR Congress which is in power in Andhra Pradesh backing her candidature, Murmu enjoys the support of about 55 per cent of the electoral college. After Murmu filed her nomination, BJP president J P Nadda had called Congress leader in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, its Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda seeking support for her candidature.