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Prez polls: Sonia snubs Sangma, refuses to meet him

Source: PTI
May 22, 2012 14:26 IST
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Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, who is being backed by the Biju Janata Dal and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for the President's post, on Tuesday sought to reach out to political parties, saying he hoped they will respond "to the call of conscience of the tribal people of the nation."

Sangma, who met BJD chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in New Delhi along with some tribal members of Parliament, on Tuesday sought to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. However, insiders say that the UPA chairperson has refused to grant him a meeting on the presidential polls. However, 10 Janpath has denied that Sangma has sought a meeting with Sonia.  Sources also said that the Congress is not willing to back him. 

Sangma, meanwhile, has claimed the support of the tribal leaders across the parties who are "fighting a common cause of projecting a tribal as a presidential candidate."

"We hope that other political groups including the United Progressive Alliance and National Democratic Alliance will respond to the call of conscience of the nation by the tribal people and support us in the coming presidential election," he told the media flanked by Patnaik. 

Asked if he is in touch with other political parties to garner support for Sangma, Patnaik said it was their duty to bring all political parties onboard on the issue of supporting the former Speaker. "I think it is obvious my colleague Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and I... of course we will be speaking to our colleagues who are many. It is our duty to gather together the political parties of the country (for supporting Sangma)...There has been a very encouraging response. I am sure my colleague in Tamil Nadu will echo my views," he said.

Both Patnaik and Jayalalithaa had announced their backing for Sangma on May 17, injecting a new element in the presidential race.

Observing that Sangma was by far the "best" presidential candidate, Patnaik said, "Indeed it is time that a distinguished tribal leader should be the Rashtrapati."

When asked if he has spoken to BJP on the issue, Patnaik remained evasive, saying the issue is not about politics but to elect for the first time a tribal leader as the President.

"Time will tell, I have spoken, she (Jayalalithaa) has spoken, we are regional parties... This is the election of Rashtrapati... This is not political, this is to bring to the seat for the first time a great tribal leader," he said.

Sangma thanked both Patnaik and Jayalalithaa for backing him for Presidential poll.

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