Giving an insight into the life of presidential candidate of the BJP-led NDA, Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday acknowledged the parties which extended support to her candidature in the upcoming polls and thanked them for "honouring the merit of the candidate", according to the sources.
The Prime Minister addressed the leaders from the NDA and also the parties which decided to extend their support to the NDA candidate, ahead of the filing of nomination today.
PM Modi expressed his gratitude to leaders like Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for their decision to "honour the merit" of Murmu, said the sources.
While speaking to the leaders, the Prime Minister spoke about the life struggles as well as the merit of Murmu who has served in various positions including as a governor in the past.
Those aware of the developments in the meeting told ANI, "The Prime Minister told us about a conversation with Murmu and she had spoken to him about her unspent pension with which she was determined to use for public which she used to build a school which is an example of her simplicity and commitment towards development and education."
Detailing the moment of revelation when Murmu came to know about the BJP announcing her the presidential candidate, the sources said that she was unaware of the development and only came to know through television. After the news came out, the people in her village thronged her place and expressed their emotions.
"Murmu was not even aware her name was going to be announced and she learnt through TV.... It was in fact overwhelming to see that people from her village came to Congratulate her and they kept on crying and refused to leave... It is learnt that the people of the village told Murmu that she had promised them that after she leaves the office of the Governor of Jharkhand, she would be spending the rest of her life in her village," said the sources.
"However, now that she would be gone for five years would deeply be missed by the village and therefore there were mixed emotions of happiness as well as sadness... that in a way showed how popular she has been and yet grounded and committed to the cause of the people," the sources quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The Prime Minister also informed the leaders that his party had spoken to various political parties including the opposition and it would have been only appropriate that for the position of the President of India that they should have been a unanimous choice.
"Election of the President of India will be fought if it has to be fought and it is known that mathematics will eventually win but for a candidate like this it is only in the interest of the country that it be a unanimous choice," the sources quoted PM Modi as saying.
"Whether the result is 70:30, 60:40 or even 100:0, every election where a win is secured is a win because it is the respect of the people's mandate," the Prime Minister added.
PM Modi further highlighted the "ideology" of the President of India and said that the "Constitution of the country" is the only ideology.
"In any election, even if political parties have an agenda or a different ideology, here it does not really matter. For the President of India, his or her only ideology is the Constitution of the country," PM Modi said according to the sources.
The Prime Minister also informed the leaders that his party will once again reach out to opposition parties and hope that they would respect the election to the position of the highest constitutional authority in the country and in this case vote unanimously.
"This is true sense will be the best example of women empowerment and the empowerment of the most ignore strata of society," the Prime Minister said.
It may also be noted that Droupadi Murmu herself has spoken to political leaders in the Opposition including TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi as well as NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
After the nomination papers were filed, BJP national president JP Nadda again reached out to opposition parties. Nadda had a conversation with Congress LOP Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, NCP chief Sharad Pawar as well as NC chief Farooq Abdullah.
The elections for the President of India are slated to take place on July 18 and the results will be out on July 21 after which India is likely to get its 15th president. NDA has a total voting percentage of 48 per cent and with the support of like-minded parties like BJD as well as YSR Congress Murmu is likely to secure more than 55 per cent votes.