The Odisha government has decided to treat Draupadi Murmu as a “state guest” when the NDA presidential candidate arrives here for electioneering on July 8, a senior official said.
The home department official also said that adequate measures will be taken for the safety, with an escort pilot and a personal security officer will be provided to Murmu, a tribal resident of the state’s Mayurbhanj district. These apart, special arrangements for her reception, accommodation, boarding, and transport will be made for her visit, the official said.
Besides interacting with MLAs and MPs, Murmu, who had been touring states to seek support for her candidature, is likely to have a one-on-one meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The ruling BJD, headed by Patnaik, had already pledged support for “Odisha daughter”.
The CM had on Tuesday urged Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra and Independent MLA Makaranda Muduli to back Murmu. Delegations of the ruling BJD leaders had also met senior Congress leaders and MLAs, including the tribal leader and legislator CS Razeen Ekka, to request them to support Murmu for the July 18 presidential election.
Ekka, however, clarified that Congress's ideology is different from that of the BJP. The grand old party’s chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati claimed that the BJD was actually seeking support for the BJP by playing up the ‘Odisha daughter’ factor. Meanwhile, BJD’s expelled member and Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi on Thursday announced his support for Draupadi Murmu.
“Murmu is the daughter of Odisha and I have full support for her,” he said.