Bhubaneswar, May 3 (PTI) CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury today said he will meet Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and seek his support for fielding a secular candidate in the upcoming presidential election.
“Since the BJD is a secular party, I am sure Naveen Patnaik and his party will be positive about it. We are hopeful that Patnaik will accept our request to support a secular candidate for the president’s post,” he told reporters here at the beginning of his two-day visit to the state.
Yechury said that his party has already discussed this with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Janata Dal (U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and NCP president Sharad Pawar.
The CPI(M) leader said he was working for the unification of secular parties at least in the coming presidential election.
Sources in the CPI(M) said that Yechury is likely to meet Patnaik on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier in March, both Nitish Kumar and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav had met Patnaik in Bhubaneswar when they were here to pay tribute to former Lok Sabha Speaker and socialist Rabi Ray.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also met Patnaik last month but both of them had maintained that they did not discuss anything on the presidential election since it was too early for it.
Patnaik had all along maintained that his party would take a decision only after the candidates were nominated.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.