Cong turns down Sangma offer of debate with Pranab

Sangma asked for debate with Pranab Mukherjee on state of economy,corruption scandals.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 23, 2012 3:22:18 am

A day after the BJP extended its support to P A Sangma’s candidature in the Presidential polls,the former Lok Sabha Speaker asked for a debate with UPA’s nominee Pranab Mukherjee on the state of economy and corruption scandals but the Congress was quick to turn it down.

“Who is responsible for all this corruption? It has to be a candidate to candidate debate…democracy means debate and I am asking for a debate,” Sangma said here on Friday.

The Congress,however,dismissed it with party spokesman Manish Tewari saying,“The Constitution does not ordain or mandate that the President of India manages the economy of the country. Therefore,the suggestion for the debate is non-sequitur and non-starter.”

Sangma,who has been in touch with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and also sought an appointment with her,said that he depends on “conscience vote” as the election will be by a secret ballot. While describing Mukherjee as a “great friend” and his “guru (teacher)”,he said,“One section of people in Bengal are asking what Pranabda has done for Bengal.”

He said that he will reach out to all Congress chief ministers,MPs and MLAs from the Northeast,as it is a question of the region’s “pride”.

He expressed confidence about winning the Presidential election as he had contested nine times in Lok Sabha elections and five times in Assembly elections and never lost.

AGP extends support to Sangma

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Friday became the first party from the northeastern region to extend its support to former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma for the ensuing Presidential elections. AGP executive president Atul Bora (Jr) said the regional party has decided to support Sangma in view of his strong anti-Congress views as also because he was the “fittest” candidate for the top post. The AGP has one member in the Lok Sabha and two in Rajya Sabha besides 10 legislators in the 126-member Assam Assembly.

Ela one of my heroines,says Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has hailed India’s eminent social activist Ela Bhatt as one of her “heroines” for her pioneering work in empowering women.

“I have a lot of heroes and heroines around the world,” Clinton said on Thursday,adding that one of them is Ela Bhatt,who started an organisation called the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India years ago.

“She was a very well-educated woman who had the options available to those in her class with her intellectual ability,but she chose to devote her life to organising the poorest of the poor…the least important,” Clinton said.

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