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Will contest as Independent: Sangma on Prez polls

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 21, 2012 22:05 IST
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Ruling out withdrawal from the Presidential fray, the Nationalist Congress Party leader P A Sangma on Monday said if necessary he would contest as an Independent and "not let down" Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who have backed him.

"There is no going back. I will not let madam Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik down which would mean that if necessary I would contest as an Independent," he told TimesNow.

Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker, said he had sought appointments with political leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to press for a tribal candidate for the post of the President.

"But in the meantime, two powerful chief ministers Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik have publicly announced support for my candidature," the NCP general secretary said.

"Therefore the situation is completely different. Now that these two leaders have openly supported and I have indications from other political parties which will be known in a couple of days. Now that I have decided to contest supported by two very strong regional powers. There is no going back," Sangma said.

Sangma also met Communist Party of India leader D Raja seeking Left parties' support in the July elections to the top post.

Raja said Sangma met him and handed over a letter signed by tribal MPs who is canvassing for a tribal leader to be elected as President.

"He told me that he is meeting leaders of several parties. He sought our support. Left parties are meeting on Wednesday. Let us see," Raja told PTI.

In a coordinated move, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Navin Patnaik had on May 17 announced their joint support to Sangma.

Jayalalithaa spoke to BJP leader L K Advani, Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and other non-Congress leaders including Left parties in support of Sangma.

Meanwhile, UPA's key ally the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said it would support the candidate put up by the ruling alliance in the Presidential election.

"DMK is part of the UPA. Therefore, we will support the one who is fielded on its behalf," DMK president M Karunanidhi told reporters.

The DMK chief had recently said his party would back Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the top post.

Incumbent Pratibha Patil's tenure ends on July 25.

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