BJP resorts to dinner diplomacy to muster support for Kovind?

The prospect of getting the Opposition’s stamp of approval for BJP’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has improved.

Published: 20th June 2017 07:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2017 07:49 PM   |  A+A-

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind NDA's presidential candidate waves at the media as he leaves for Delhi at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday. (PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The prospect of getting the Opposition’s stamp of approval for BJP’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has improved after the leaders of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party accepted the dinner invite of CM Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday. The CM will be hosting a dinner at his residence on Tuesday evening in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reached Lucknow late afternoon.

Soon after reaching Lucknow, the PM proceeded to Central Drug Research Institute and he will be inaugurating the new campus of APJ Kalam Technical University on Tuesday.

Thereafter, he will attend the dinner hosted by the CM. On Wednesday morning, the PM will take part in a Yoga camp to mark International Yoga Day. Around 51,000 people are expected to join PM’s Yoga camp on the occasion.

Sources said that the CM office has sent invite to all prominent leaders of Opposition parties including SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.

Highly-placed sources said that all three have given their consent to attend the dinner. Leader of Opposition in UP assembly Ram Govind Chaudhary will also be present during the dinner.

While the dinner is being viewed as an exercise by the ruling party to muster support for Kovind for the upcoming presidential elections, the political circles are abuzz with talks of SP and BSP allegedly coming around in support of the Dalit leader’s candidature for the post.

While Mulayam Singh Yadav had been giving hints about backing the NDA’s choice for the post even before the announcement, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is yet to clear his stand over the issue.

However, he has reportedly said that he would come out clear after attending the coordination committee meeting of the Opposition parties on June 22.

BSP chief Mayawati, meanwhile, supported Kovind’s candidature as he comes from Dalit community but with the rider that she would support him only if the Opposition fails to field a 'better' Dalit candidate.

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and NDA partner Ram Vilas Paswan had said on Monday that anybody opposing Kovind's candidature would be seen as anti-Dalit.

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