Undaunted by the threat of disciplinary action by his own party,the NCP,P A Sangma today insisted on contesting the Presidential poll for which he has sought the support of NDA as well as Trinamool Congress,both of whom have given him no commitment.
“I am still in the race. I have made an appeal to all political parties to support my candidature,” Sangma said,adding he has spoken to many of the NDA leaders to support him.
Sangma said he has also contacted Mamata Banerjee soliciting her backing for his candidature. “I had spoken to Mamata Bannerjee day before yesterday,late in the evening. I have appealed to her also to support my candidature.”
He added that Bannerjee was insistent on the name of former President A P J Abdul Kalam.
“I said (to Mamata) that Dr Kalam has opted out of the race therefore you should support me,” Sangma said.
In Kolkata,Trinamool MP Kunal Ghose said Banerjee had told Sangma to support Kalam in the event of the former President contesting the election and withdraw from the race.
Sharad Pawar,chief of NCP which has fully backed the candidature of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee,has asked Sangma to opt out of the Presidential poll and even threatened action against him if he persisted.
On whether he is defying his own party by contesting for the top most post,he said,”I have maintained right from the beginning that I am a candidate of Tribal Forum of India which has nothing to with any political party.”
As a candidate of the Tribal Forum I have gone across to all the political parties,appealing for support,Sangma said,adding that,”It is very clear that I am not a NCP candidate.”
On whether he is prepared for any action taken by his party against him,he said,”Sharad Pawar (NCP Chief) is saying that he will appeal to me to withdraw. I can tell you that I will appeal to him to support me.”
On the NDA meeting today,which turned out to be inconclusive,he said,”There have been little differences which is quite natural in a democracy. They (NDA members) are still to sort out few things. They have to consult few Chief Minister.”
Earlier,Sharad Pawar had said that “we are part of the UPA. We are happy with the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee and the conduct of all party men should be consistent with the party stand.”
Pawar said NCP leader D P Tripathy has already conveyed party’s view to Sangma that he should not press for his candidature.
“We have called a party meeting on June 21 on the Presidential issue,” he said.
Pawar noted that he,alongwith Praful Patel and Sangma’s daughter Agatha,are representing the party at the Centre. “So our stand should be consistent with that of the UPA on the Presidential issue,” he said.
Sangma,against his party decision,has been pressing for his candidature in the Presidential polls on the grounds of being a tribal candidate.
“I am still in the race. I have made an appeal to all political parties to support my candidature,” Sangma told reporters today,adding he has spoken to many of the NDA leaders to support him.
He also maintained that he will ask Pawar to support his candidature. “Sharad Pawar is saying that he will appeal to me to withdraw. I can tell you that I will appeal to him to support me,” Sangma had said.
Asked whether he is defying party’s stand,he had said,”I have maintained right from the beginning that I am a candidate of Tribal Forum of India which has nothing to with any political party.”