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Pranab meets Mulayam, Mayawati to seek votes

By Sharat Pradhan
July 03, 2012 23:00 IST
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United Progressive Alliance Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee spent the whole of Tuesday in Lucknow, meeting not only Congress legislators but also those belonging to the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Even though it was a tight and hectic schedule, he chose to start his day with a closed-door meeting with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. As he drove down from the airport to Taj Residency Hotel, he deviated from his predetermined programme to head straight for Mulayam's Vikramaditya Marg residence, where he spent nearly 20 minutes with the SP supremo.
After that he went to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's official residence at Kalidas Marg, where a luncheon banquet was hosted for him.
Three ministers of the Union cabinet -- Shree Prakash Jaiswal, Salman Khurshid and R P N Singh -- were also present at the lunch.

At 2.30 pm, the UPA Presidential candidate drove down to his hotel, where he took his routine afternoon nap, before attending a tea party thrown by state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
Mikherjee chose to pre-pone the dinner hosted by BSP chief Mayawati at the party state headquarter at Mall Avenue.

Significantly, he made it a point to praise the multi-crore monuments, memorials and parks created by Mayawati.

"I like the memorials raised by Mayawatiji in the memory of Dr Ambedkar and Kanshi Ramji, whose contribution to the Dalit movement was highly commendable," observed Pranab in his brief address to the gathering.
Mayawati took the opportunity to justify all the expenditure on the memorials and her house, for which she has been under fire from various quarters.

"All the criticism about me having spent a lot of money on my house is motivated as I live in only three rooms, while the rest of the building is a museum devoted to Manyavar Kanshi Ramji, who had spent a lot of time in this house," she said.
Pranab was treated to the best of Awadhi cuisine at both lunch and dinner. Mayawati got a very special fish item prepared for him.

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Sharat Pradhan In Lucknow