Bhubaneswar: The Congress in Odisha Thursday said it will not support Droupadi Murmu, “daughter of the soil” and NDA nominee in the Presidential elections, claiming that she believes in the ideology of the BJP and the RSS.
The Congress will back Yashwant Sinha, the consensus candidate of several major non-BJP parties, senior leader Narasingha Mishra said here.
Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday urged all members of the state Assembly to extend unanimous support to Murmu as is the “daughter of Odisha”.
“We will not back her candidature as she believes in the ideology of the RSS and the BJP. The people of this ideology killed Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress would never support it,” Mishra, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, said.
The CLP leader said that he knows Murmu in person and their equation is also good, but the party cannot support her.
The Congress has nine MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly and one Lok Sabha MP in the state.
Mishra described as a “gimmick” Patnaik’s appeal to all MLAs of Odisha to support Murmu.
Claiming that the BJP and the BJD are like two sides of a coin, Mishra said, “If the chief minister has so much love for Odisha and Odias, why did he send a non-Odia to the Rajya Sabha? Were there no deserving Odia candidates?”
He was referring to the BJD’s support to BJP candidate Ashwini Vaishnav, a former Odisha cadre IAS officer, in the 2019 Rajya Sabha election. Vaishnaw, now a Union minister, worked as the district magistrate of Cuttack and Balasore during his tenure. He hails from Rajasthan.
The Congress MP from Koraput, Saptagiri Ulaka, told PTI that as a tribal leader, he welcomes the nomination of a tribal candidate for the Presidential election.
“But, the tribals should be actually empowered. Any symbolic representation will not work,” Ulaka said.