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No purpose stringed with Prez’s lunch invitation, says Naveen

 Ruling BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said his party has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential election even as he has been invited to Rashtrapati Bhavan for a lunch tomorrow.

"I have been invited for lunch by the President tomorrow," Patnaik said before leaving for the national capital today.

Asked about the purpose of the President's invitation, Patnaik said, "No purpose is indicated in the invitation. BJD has not taken any stand on the ensuing presidential election."

The President will be meeting Naveen at the Rashtrapati Bhawan between 2 pm to 3 pm tomorrow. Patnaik said during his visit to Delhi, he will meet Union Power Minister this evening and attend the Non-Resident Odia Conference.

"The President will be attending the conference as well," the chief minister said.

The invitation to Patnaik ahead of the July, 2017 presidential election is significant as he is also the President of the BJD that has 28 MPs (20 in Lok Sabha and 8 in Rajya Sabha) in the Parliament besides enjoying support of another Independent Rajya Sabha MP. This apart, Patnaik's party has 117 MLAs in the House of 147 besides support of two other Independent members. Therefore, the BJD could play a vital role in the ensuing presidential elections.

Patnaik, who played a crucial role in the previous presidential election in 2012, was opposed to Congress-supported Pranab Mukherjee last time.

The BJD supremo with support of the then AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha, had made late P A Sangma as the candidate in the presidential elections but Sangma lost the polls.

An invitation from the President sparked speculation in the political circle here as regional parties like BJD, AIADMK of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal's Trinamool Congress are likely to play a key role in the President's election.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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