Determined to contest against UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election next month,former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma resigned from the primary membership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday.
With the AIADMK and the BJD propping his candidature and the BJP likely to support him,it was untenable for Sangma,one of the founder members of the NCP,to continue in the party which has firmly backed Mukherjees nomination.
The NDA,which was expected to meet today,is now scheduled to meet tomorrow. The Shiv Sena has already declared its support for Mukherjee,and the Janata Dal(U) too is inclined to back him. The Akali Dal has,however,said it would go along with the BJP.
The parties backing Sangma wanted him to first sever his relationship with the NCP,so as to indicate clearly his resolve to enter the contest against Mukherjee.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Sangmas resignation was accepted with immediate effect. The resignation came a day before NCP office-bearers meet to discuss the presidential election.
Asked if Sangmas resignation would have any bearing on his daughter Agathas continuation as union minister of state,NCP general secretary D P Tripathi said,The question is irrelevant. She has not resigned. She has not said anything against the party.
While the NCP was preparing to take disciplinary action against Sangma if he did not withdraw from the race,sources said that soon after getting the support of the AIADMK and the BJD,the former speaker had informed his party leadership that he would quit if he did ultimately decide to contest the presidential election.
Sangma sent his resignation letter to the NCP chief shortly after meeting Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy who was said to have pledged support for his candidature. I hereby tender my resignation from the primary membership of NCP with immediate effect. I place on record my deep gratitude to the president,other office bearers and rank and file of NCP for the courtesies extended to me by them at a personal level while I was a member of the party, Sangma stated in his resignation letter.
He said he had received promises of support from senior leaders of non-Congress parties,including those in the NDA. In a statement,he said he had no option but to resign from the NCP without any personal intent whatsoever of embarrassing the party and its leadership.
Disinclination of the NCP to endorse my candidature amounts to a denial of the aspirations of the tribals of the country, he said,adding that his candidature had been projected by the Tribal Forum of India and he could not ignore the feeling of the tribals that Raisina Hill should not continue to be a distant dream for them.
Pointing out that the NCP had not found it possible to endorse his candidature,Sangma said,I believe that I have also worked hard for building up the base of the party in several parts of India. Indeed,the national status of the party has been significantly due to the mass support from among the tribals who constitute one-hundred million of our population and among whom I have ceaselessly worked.
Reacting to Sangmas resignation from the NCP,the Congress said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had already appealed to all political parties to support Mukherjee. Despite this,if some parties want to field a candidate,it is a part of democracy, said Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi.