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Akhilesh to host lunch for Pranab today

A lavish spread and a grand welcome awaits ruling UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee when he arrives in Lucknow on Tuesday.



Zeenews Bureau

Lucknow: A lavish spread and a grand welcome awaits ruling United Progressive Alliance`s (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee when he arrives in the state capital on Tuesday.

Officials on Monday went into an overdrive after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav decided to host a lunch for the visiting veteran leader.

The Secretariat administration was yesterday busy preparing invites and the menu for the grand reception.

Secretary of the Sachivalaya (Secretariat) administration Prashant Trivedi told reporters that all the preparations were being made as per the "desired protocol".

The former finance minister is likely to first meet Congress legislators. He will also meet legislators of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the two major parties which have committed to extend their support to him in the Presidential poll.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi has formed a committee to oversee Mukherjee`s daylong visit to the state.

Mukherjee will also call on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who supported his candidature as the UPA candidate for Presidency after Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee refused to back him.

Congress party workers have been asked to be present in large numbers at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Amausi Airport when Mukherjee arrives this morning.

Lucknow would be Mukherjee`s third stop after Chennai and Hyderabad. He is rallying support for himself in the July 19 Presidential Election, in which he is pitted against PA Sangma, who is supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Biju Janata Dal, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the AIADMK.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee will be visiting Kerala on Wednesday followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat the next day. He is expected to visit Assam and Tripura on July 6.

Mukherjee is expected to visit his home state of West Bengal on July 9. However, there is still no official word on whether he would have a meeting with Mamata Banerjee.

This will be followed by a meeting with MPs and MLAs of Uttarakhand and Delhi on July 10. The next day he is expected to be in Bhopal and Raipur.

Mukherjee is likely to visit Mumbai on July 13 but it is still not clear whether he would meet Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, who has declared support to him in national interest.

Mukherjee is expected to visit Srinagar and Chandigarh on July 15, the last day of his campaign for the July 19 Presidential Election.

(With IANS/PTI inputs)

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