Naveen to meet President over lunch

Bhubaneswar, Jan 5 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential election even though he has been invited to Rashtrapati Bhavan for a lunch on Friday.

“I have been invited for lunch by the President tomorrow. No purpose is indicated in the invitation,” Patnaik told media persons before leaving for New Delhi.

He said BJD has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential election.

The Chief Minister will also attend a programme of the Non-Resident Odia forum in New Delhi, where the President will also be present.

The election for the next President is due in July this year, and BJD’s support will be crucial.

The regional party has 28 MPs (20 in Lok Sabha and 8 in Rajya Sabha) in the Parliament besides enjoying support of another Independent Rajya Sabha MP. Patnaik’s party has 117 MLAs in the 147-member state assembly. It also enjoys the support of two other Independent members in the Assembly.

However, Patnaik had opposed the candidature of Mukherjee in 2012 elections and supported P.A. Sangma.

–IANS

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