Purno Agitok Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker, has managed to get the support of pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party for his presidential candidature.
The BJP announced at a press conference today that Sangma, a Catholic tribal leader from northeastern India, would be its candidate for the July 19 presidential poll.
“We all decided that Sangma is the most suitable candidate, so BJP supports Sangma as its presidential candidate," said party leader Sushma Swaraj.
She said the BJP, as main Opposition, did not want to give a walkover to Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee because the United Progressive Alliance “did not hold prior consultations with us" regarding a consensus presidential candidate.
"We had two candidates, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (former president) and Sangma. But Kalamji decided not to contest.”
The announcement came a day after Sangma resigned from the Nationalist Congress Party that wanted him to opt out of the presidential race.
Sangma’s name was first propped up as presidential candidate by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Biju Patnaik.
Sangma said that he is not the candidate of any single party but a representative of the 100 million tribals in the country.
Dismissing the import of the apparent lack of numbers in his favor, he said the conscience of the nation would favor him.
Sangma said, “I am happy that BJP is supporting me. It is not just the BJP, the Akali Dal, JMM and other smaller parties have also assured support to me.”
He said he would personally request Shiv Sena and Janta Dal (United) who have endorsed the candidature of Mukherjee, to support him.
The former Meghalaya chief minister said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has assured her support.
Source: Times of India/Zeenews
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