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Sangma prefers NDA to Congress under Sonia

January 13, 2004 18:45 IST

A day ahead of the national executive meeting of the Nationalist Congress Party to decide on poll alliances, its senior leader P A Sangma on Tuesday said he would 'prefer' to join the NDA rather than joins hands with the Congress.

"I cannot be part of any tie-up with the Congress under Sonia Gandhi. It goes against my self-respect and the very principles on which the NCP was formed," he told NDTV.

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Sangma's admission comes a day before the national executive of the NCP meets to decide its future course of action and whether it should align with a secular front that includes the Congress.

NCP president Sharad Pawar has already indicated that he was ready for a pre-poll tie-up with the Congress.

"The final decision will be taken by my people, but yes, at the moment I would prefer to join the National Democratic Alliance," Sangma said. He is likely to convene a meeting of his North-East Peoples Forum next week where a formal decision on aligning with the NDA is likely to be taken.

On the Congress claim that any decision on the prime ministership would be taken after the elections, Sangma said, "They can say what they want. After the elections, there will be the usual rallies, hunger strikes and demands for Sonia to be the leader. This is the Congress strategy."

The NCP leader could reconsider his decision if the Congress announced the name of a leader other than Sonia as its prime ministerial candidate.

Asked who was his enemy number one - Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party - Sangma said there are no 'enemies' in politics, only rivals.

"There is a difference between the NDA and the BJP. There are many secular parties within the NDA," he said.

"Elections are now about personalities. You have to choose between the prime ministerial contenders. The NDA has (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee. The secular front also needs to have a leader," he said.

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