Will convince Sangma to back out: Pawar

Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Saturday he would speak to his party leader P A Sangma and convince him to not contest the presidential polls.

Published:June 17, 2012 1:00 am

Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Saturday he would speak to his party leader P A Sangma and convince him to not contest the presidential polls.

“I will meet him and convince him to back down. I am sure he will listen to us and respect the party decision. He will not join the presidential race,” he told reporters in Pune. On Thursday,Pawar met Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and announced that his party would support UPA’s candidate.

Asked if the party was contemplating action against Sangma if he refused to withdraw from the race,Pawar said,“He is a senior leader and there is no question of any action. I am sure he would listen to us and the issue will not be stretched to that extent.”

But senior NCP leader Praful Patel indicated that the party is mulling action. “We will react if he pursues with his candidature,” he said.

Pawar said he was confident about Pranab Mukherjee’s win. “He will certainly win. The decision of his candidature was taken after thorough deliberations including with the opposition leaders. I think we have enough numbers. I hope for the sake of Bengali pride Mamata Bannerjee will also support Pranab Mukerjee,” he said.

“The NCP’s stated position is that we do not subscribe to his candidature. We will react only if he files his nomination. Let me make it very clear that Sangma does not enjoy support of the NCP. We wish that he does not contest,” Patel said.

NCP general secretary DP Tripathi met Sangma on Friday in a bid to persuade him. Sangma was,however,said to have refused to relent. “We have called a meeting on June 21 to which he has also been invited. We will discuss the issue there,” said Tripathi.

Sangma,however,got a boost when the BJD,which first pushed for his candidature,said that it was still with him. “There has been no change in our stand,” said senior BJD leader and Orissa Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held a meeting of senior party leaders at his residence to discuss the presidential election.

BJD sources said Naveen does not want to go back on his announcement as any such move would amount to loss of face.With ENS,Bhubaneswar

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