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  India   Politics  06 Jan 2017  No President poll link: Naveen on Pranab’s lunch invite

No President poll link: Naveen on Pranab’s lunch invite

THE ASIAN AGE. | AKSHAYA KUMAR SAHOO
Published : Jan 6, 2017, 12:43 am IST
Updated : Jan 6, 2017, 3:35 am IST

The President will be meeting Mr Patnaik at the Rashtrapati Bhawan between 2 pm to 3 pm tomorrow.

President Pranab Mukherjee (Photo: PTI)
 President Pranab Mukherjee (Photo: PTI)

Bhubaneswar: Having been invited by President Pranab Mukherjee to Rashtrapati Bhavan for a lunch on Friday, Odisha chief minister on Thursday left for New Delhi, even as speculation ran high that both the leaders would discuss the upcoming presidential elections during the exchange of goodwill gesture. “I have been invited for lunch by the President tomorrow,” Mr Patnaik said before leaving for the national capital.

Asked about the purpose of the President’s invitation, he said, “No purpose is indicated in the invitation. BJD has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential elections.”

 

“My party has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential elections. I’m going to attendant the Non-resident Odia Conference which will be inaugurated by the President Pranab Mukherjee,” he said.

The President will be meeting Mr Patnaik at the Rashtrapati Bhawan between 2 pm to 3 pm tomorrow.

The invitation to Odisha chief minister ahead of the July, 2017 presidential election assumes significance as he is also the president of the BJD that has 20 Lok Sabha members and eight Rajya Sabha members in the Parliament. Mr Patnaik also enjoys support of another Independent Rajya Sabha MP – A V Swamy.

This apart, the ruling BJD in Odisha has 117 MLAs in the House of 147 besides support of two other Independent members. Political experts maintain that the BJD could play a crucial role in the ensuing presidential elections.

 

In 2013 presidential elections, Mr Patnaik had played a vital role in the previous. He was then opposed to the Congress-supported Pranab Mukherjee.

The BJD supremo with support of the then AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha had made late P A Sangma as the candidate in the presidential elections. Sangma, however, lost the polls.

The invitation from the President has sparked speculation in the political circle here that regional parties like BJD, AIADMK of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress – like the previous presidential elections – may play a key role in the President’s elections this time also.

Tags: pranab mukherjee, rashtrapati bhavan, naveen patnaik
Location: India, Odisha, Bhubaneswar