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Pranab meets Sharad to thank for JD-U support

New Delhi: UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee today met JD-U chief Sharad Yadav at his residence to thank him for the support the party has extended to his nomination.

Clad in a traditional Bengali dhoti-kurta, Mukherjee, accompanied by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bandal and Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy, drove up to Yadav`s residence and remained with him for around 20 minutes.

The two exchanged some pleasantries and Mukherjee thanked the JD-U leader for the support his party had extended to him in the Presidential election, defying the NDA coalition. "Pranabda only came to meet me for the support given to him by the party. He came to thank me. There is nothing more to it," Yadav told reporters after the meeting.

Mukherjee did not speak to the media despite Yadav`s prodding and departed with a "thank you". The meeting came a day after Yadav signed as first proposer for Mukherjee`s candidature in one the four sets of his nomination papers.

Sources said that Mukherjee during his chat recalled some of his encounters with Yadav in Parliament. He also said he has been observing Yadav`s role in Parliament for a long time and remembers well that the opposition leader had resigned from his Lok Sabha membership thrice on different issues.

Mukherjee had called up Yadav last evening itself to inform him about his intent to meet him. During the meeting, Yadav also told the Congress leaders that a consensus would have been arrived had their party made a serious attempt to do so in the beginning.

Yadav told Mukherjee he would be missed in Parliament. While Mukherjee had become an MP for the first time in 1969, Yadav made his debut in 1974.

The JD-U leader said that dhoti-kurta is a traditional Bengali dress, which suits Mukherjee and that he should wear it more often.

JD-U`s decision to back Mukherjee`s candidature has caused quite an unease within NDA as BJP has decided for a contest against Mukherjee and has supported P A Sangma, a candidate backed by BJD and AIADMK.
Seeking to secure a record number of votes in the Presidential poll, Mukherjee will visit a maximum number of states particularly those with higher number of votes. Mukherjee will launch his campaign from Chennai on June 30.

Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, alongwith some of his Cabinet colleagues, including the state Home Minister, met Mukherjee at the latter`s residence to greet him ahead of his filing of nomination tomorrow.

After JD-U, another NDA alliance partner Shiv Sena has also decided to extend its support to Mukherjee`s candidature. While all UPA allies are together in backing Mukherjee in the Presidential poll, one of the UPA constituents Trinamool Congress has so far not committed support to his candidature.

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