Pranab, Sangma to visit Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Odisha will soon host both the presidential candidates in quick succession. UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive in Bhubaneswar on July 11 as part his nationwide campaign to mobilize further support for his smooth voyage to Raisina Hill. Pranab has emerged as a clear favourite to win the presidential polls after the Samajwadi Party and the BSP decided to back the veteran Congress leader along with some constituents of the NDA like JD (U) and Shiv Sena.

Despite the numbers clearly favouring Pranab, the former finance minister wants to leave no stone unturned to garner as much support as possible by visiting different states. Odisha has 21 MPs of whom 14 belong to the BJD, 6 to the Congress and 1 to CPI. Pranab’s visit to Odisha has got more symbolic value as the Congress has only 27 legislators in the 147-member House.

Already, the BJD has upped the ante against Pranab by raking up the office of profit controversy. Pranab may have laughed it off by terming the forged document allegations as ludicrous, but the BJD has organized street protests in the entire state over it. The BJD seems to be on an aggressive path to build the image of a strident anti-Congress party.

The BJD is now all set to roll out the red carpet for PA Sangma in Bhubaneswar on July 15. Sangma will interact with all BJD MPs and MLAs. Sangma’s candidature was first proposed by Naveen on May 17. As 23% of Odisha’s population comprises of tribals, the BJD is vociferously supporting Sangma.

Sangma may not win the presidential polls, but the BJD may be certain to derive political dividends by supporting a tribal and minority candidate in the race for the highest constitutional post of the country.