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Prez poll: TMC asks Sangma to withdraw candidature

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has asked former Lok Sabha speaker and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader PA Sangma to withdraw his nomination from the presidential election.

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The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has asked former Lok Sabha speaker and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader PA Sangma to withdraw his nomination from the presidential election.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has been strongly pitching for former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s return to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Banerjee, who has been rejected by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and snubbed by Samajawadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with regard to the presidential candidate, has launched a campaign on Facebook to bolster support for Trinamool Congress’s presidential candidate Dr. Kalam.

Sangma earlier today reiterated that he was still in the fray for the presidential poll as a tribal candidate, and said that he would appeal to his party boss Sharad Pawar to back him in the race for Raisina Hill.

“I have maintained right from the beginning that I am a candidate of the Tribal Forum of India, which is nothing to do with any political party. I am a candidate of the Tribal Forum of India. And, as a candidate of the Tribal Forum of India, I have gone across to all political parties appealing for support. This is the position. Therefore, it is very clear that I am not an NCP candidate,” said Sangma.

“Sharad Pawar is saying that he will appeal to me to withdraw. And I can tell you, I will appeal to him to support me,” he added.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had earlier said that he would persuade Sangma to withdraw his candidature for the presidential poll.

The NCP has decided to back UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the prestigious post.

When asked whether he had also spoken to West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee with regard to his candidature, Sangma said: “I have talked to Mamata Banerjee day before yesterday late in the evening and I have appealed to her also to support my candidature. She was insisting on Dr. Kalam. I said Dr. Kalam had opted out of the race, therefore you should support (me).

Sangma further said that he has made an appeal to all political parties to support his candidature for the coveted post.

“Since NDA meeting was scheduled for today, I spoke to many of the NDA leaders yesterday till late in the evening appealing them that they should extend their support to my candidature. Now, I have come to understand that the meeting has ended, but it has been inconclusive,” said Sangma.

“There have been little differences, which is quite natural in a democracy. They are still to sort out few things. They have to consult few chief ministers. So, I have nothing more to add as of now, except to say that I am still in the race,” he added.

Sangma, who has been campaigning on the ground that the country should have a tribal president, has so far met various political leaders including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Lal Krishna Advani.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which met here today to decide on the presidential candidate, to firm up a position on the presidential poll as it was divided over opposing UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee and there was lack of clarity on extending support to P A Sangma.

“We will consult and deliberate with the chief minister of NDA-ruled states and leaders of other parties and would take final decision in next meeting,” Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief and NDA convener Sharad Yadav told media here after the nearly-two-hour long meeting at Advani’s residence.

The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The vote count will take place on July 22.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s term as President ends on July 24.

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