Regional parties support Sangma for president

Sangma, a Catholic who has been campaigning for a tribal president, thanked the two parties for the decision.

Posted on May 18, 2012, 8:35 AM


P.A. Sangma, with daughter Agatha (courtesy outlook)

New Delhi:Making a strong pitch for a tribal president, regional parties from the east and south have picked former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma for the top post in India.

Chief Ministers of Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Naveen Patnaik of Biju Janata Dal and J Jayalalithaa, who met last week in Chennai, announced their support to the 65-year-old tribal leader from northeastern India.

“I think Mr Sangma ought to be candidate for …. Rashtrapati Bhavan,” Patnaik told reporters in Bhubhaneswar, adding he has had discussions with Jayalalithaa on the issue.

Later, Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) issued a statement in Chennai saying her party has decided to support the candidature of Sangma for the highest office after “due consideration.”

Recalling Sangma’s May 15 meeting with her, Jayalalithaa said he “not only belongs to a tribal community but is also eminently qualified to be the president of our great nation.”

Sangma, a Catholic who has been campaigning for a tribal president, thanked the two parties for the decision but Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar pleaded ignorance about the development.

“I am not aware of any such development. Sangma has not spoken to us. We have had no discussions. We feel that with such a limited strength, we cannot aspire for such a major post,” Pawar said.

Sangma himself said he was not lobbying as an NCP leader but in his personal capacity.

This is the first announcement by any political party to back a particular candidate for the presidential polls scheduled for July 25.

Parties like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), Bahujan Samaj Party and Left parties are keeping their cards close to their chest.

When asked whether he will support any other tribal candidate, Sangma said he was not the only tribal who could be president. “Any one tribal. It can be (Tribal Affairs Minister) Kishore Chandra Deo, Arvind Netam (Congress), Kariya Munda (Bharitya Janata Party- BJP)…It has to be a tribal this time.”

“I am extremely grateful to both the leaders (Patnaik and Jayalalithaa). They have been very responsive to our (tribals) aspirations. So on behalf of tribals in India, which is more than 100 million, I would convey my sincere thanks to them,” he said.

He also appealed to other parties to follow suit and support the tribal cause.

In this case, he said, he was not representing NCP but the whole tribals.

“We belong to different political parties but we belong to tribal community. We are representing tribal community,” said.

Sangma’s own party has not taken any decision on what it proposes to do in the election.

Meanwhile, the former parliament speaker met the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley.

Senior party leaders said Sangma does not fit the bill as far as BJP is concerned and hence it is highly unlikely that it will support the tribal leader from Meghalaya.


Tribal President , P A Sangma , Presidential Candidate ,


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