The Bengal BJP has written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking her support in favour of the NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu.
Similar letters will be sent to all legislators of the state, irrespective of their political affiliation, the party’s state president Sukanta Majumdar said on Tuesday.
“Droupadi Murmu is all set to become the first woman from eastern India and most importantly the first tribal woman President of India. We think all parties should come out in her support,” Majumdar said at a news meet.
“A letter signed by me and leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari has been sent to the chief minister and similar letters will be sent to all other Opposition MPs and MLAs. It will ask for their support,” Majumdar added.
He said BJP units of all other states would send similar letters to legislators of Opposition parties.
Sources in the saffron camp said Murmu was likely to become India’s next President with several regional parties, such as the BJD, extending their support to her. In such a scenario, the BJP plans to invite Opposition parties such as Trinamul, CPM and the Congress to “extend support to the first tribal woman President nominee”.
For the saffron camp these letters will serve two purposes. Firstly, if anyone at all responds to these communiques it will only add to the NDA’s score. Secondly, and more importantly, the party gets an opportunity to paint the Opposition — who are likely to vote against Murmu — as “anti-tribal”.
“We all know that the Opposition parties will not support Droupadiji. However, with these letters (sent to Opposition legislators) we are showing courtesy and when they reject our call, we will have the opportunity to call them anti-tribal,” a source in the party said.
The intentions of the party were clear from Majumdar’s words when he said that he hoped even Mamata would support Murmu and if she didn't it would only prove that she was “anti-tribal”.
The Opposition has already fielded a consensus candidate in former Union minister Yashwant Sinha. In support of this decision leaders such as CPM’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury said though they had respect for Murmu, they saw the presidential poll as an ideological contest.
However, the BJP has plans to use these polls as one of the many stepping stones towards the 2024 general polls. Murmu’s nomination itself is meant to woo the tribal populace of the country.
Trinamul meets Governor
An eight-member Trinamul Congress delegation, led by education minister Bratya Basu, met governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday. The delegation demanded Dhankhar “to take cognizance of the situation and direct action against” Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of Opposition, “for his involvement with the Sarada Group of Companies”.
The move comes days after Saradha owner Sudipta Sen alleged that Suvendu had blackmailed him and extorted money from him. “Today, AITC delegation met with the Hon'ble Governor of WB and flagged serious concerns with regard to selective inaction shown by the CBI. It is extremely shameful and we strongly condemn the same! Independent institutions like ED & CBI MUST NOT act like puppets of BJP,” the Trinamul later tweeted.
Emerging from the meeting, Trinamul leaders refused to speak anything about the interaction with Dhankhar but said that discussions were held in a cordial atmosphere.
However, later in the evening the governor tweeted: “Guv urged the delegation @AITCofficial-Ensure Govt. acts according to Law & not Law of ruler…”
In a prompt rebuttal, the Trinamul spokesperson Kunal Ghosh tweeted: “The tweet from @jdhankhar1 reggarding delegation is one sided and as a voice of a BJP person. He has not written @AITCofficial delegation’s counter words and allegations against central Govt. This distorted and politically motivated tweet was not expected from chair of Governor.”