The parties supporting NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu



Murmu’s popularity, as a woman and a tribal person, has been growing and has become a challenge for the Opposition, which is wary of alienating their women and tribal vote-bank

New Delhi: NDA presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu, who is in West Bengal to seek support for her candidature for the 18 July election, on Tuesday visited the ancestral house of Swami Vivekananda in north Kolkata.

Murmu was accompanied by BJP leaders Suvendu Adhikari, Sukanta Majumdar, Agnimitra Pal and others. She garlanded the statue of Swamiji at his ancestral home on Shimla Street and paid obeisance to him.

Murmu was handed over books of Ramakrishna Paramhansa by monks of the Ramakrishna Mission. The NDA presidential candidate signed the visitor’s book kept at the house of Swamiji.
She will meet BJP MPs and MLAs of the state later in the day.

Murmu is visiting various states to garner support from lawmakers for the presidential poll. Here are the parties, which have extended support to the NDA presidential candidate so far:

Andhra Pradesh

Ahead of Murmu’s visit to Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, the Telugu Desam Party, chief Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, on Monday announced its support for her.

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu made the announcement at a meeting of the party’s strategy committee. “The TDP always stood for social justice. It had in the past supported K R Narayanan and APJ Abdul Kalam for the President’s post,” Naidu said. In the same spirit they were extending support to Murmu, the first Adivasi woman chosen for the highest constitutional post.

The TDP has one member in the Rajya Sabha, three members in Lok Sabha and 23 members in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

The ruling YSRC with 31 MPs and 151 MLAs has already pledged its support to Murmu. The lone MLA of Jana Sena, who has virtually defected to the YSRC, will also vote along. In effect, all votes from Andhra Pradesh will go to Murmu.

Maharashtra

The Shiv Sena too has extended support to Murmu on Monday, although they clarified, “We discussed Droupadi Murmu (NDA’s Presidential candidate) in our meeting yesterday… supporting Droupadi Murmu does not mean supporting BJP. Shiv Sena’s role will be clear in a day or two. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray will make a decision,” Party MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.

On Monday, 16 of total 18 Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MPs physically attended the key meeting on the presidential elections convened by Uddhav Thackeray at ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai. All agreed on supporting Murmu.

Other parties

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal United (JDU), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Apna Dal Sonelal (ADS), Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Naga People’s Front (NPF), National People’s Party (NPP), Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), Mizo National Front (MNF), Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD), Nationalist Progressive Democratic Party (NDPP), All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC), Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RASP), Jana Sena Party (JSP), All India Namathu Rajiyam Congress (AINRC), Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP), United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA), Republican Party of India Athawale (RPI-A), Tamil Maanila Congress Moopanar (TMC-M)m Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), Puratchi Bharatham Katchi (PBK), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Jansatta Dal Loktantrik (JSDL).

Opposition

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently said that Murmu, a tribal BJP leader from Odisha, could have been a consensus candidate had the saffron party discussed with the Opposition parties before fielding her.

Major non-BJP parties of the country, including the Congress and the TMC, have named former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as the joint nominee for the presidential election. The parties supporting him are:

Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M), Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), National Conference, All India United Democratic Front (AUDF), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

The Shibu Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is yet undecided on who to support for the upcoming presidential elections. Murmu and Soren are both tribal leaders and belong to the Santhal ethnic group, which has a sizeable population in Jharkhand as well as in Odisha, from where she hails. And the latter has already extended its support.

Murmu had earlier called up Soren to seek JMM’s support for the polls.

Senior JMM leader Lobin Hembrom said Soren has been authorised by the party to talk to the Centre and take the “appropriate decision” on supporting the presidential candidate.

Undecided

Besides the JMM, which reports suggest is likely to support Murmu, the following parties are yet to pick a side:

According to News Nine, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (SAD-A), Swabhimani Paksha (SWP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP),  Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF),  Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM), Goa Forward Party (GFP), Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi (BVA), Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWPI), Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP), Shiv Sena rebel group (Eknath Shinde), Indian Secular Front (ISF).

The quandary

Support for Murmu has been growing and has left the Opposition in a quandary, who are now afraid of alienating their tribal vote bank. For instance, Chhattisgarh has a more than 30 per cent tribal population as per the 2011 Census and ruling Congress dispensation led by Bhupesh Baghel has extended support for Yashwant Sinha. Similarly, Mamata Banerjee’s softening towards Murmu is also backed by similar reasons — it fears that she might alienate the tribal voters in West Bengal ahead of the panchayat elections next year and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

With input from agencies

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