New Delhi, June 19: Despite P.A. Sangma remaining defiant over contesting the presidential poll as a candidate of the Tribal Forum of India, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader D.P. Tripathi on Tuesday expressed confidence about the former Lok Sabha speaker supporting UPA nominee and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the post of President of India.
Tripathi, who met Mukherjee here, said it was a courtesy visit.
“This is a courtesy visit. We are allies. I am an NCP leader and voter of Pranab Mukherjee. So, it is my duty to meet him,” said Tripathi.
“As far as Sangma is concerned, he is a senior leader of our party. The meeting of our party is scheduled to take place on 21st (June 21). Even Sangma will be attending that and I have full confidence that he will support UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee,” he added.
When asked if Sangma would not fall within the party line and decide to contest against Mukherjee, Tripathi said: “Sangma is our very senior and respectable leader. Politics is not based on speculation. The meeting of our party will be held on 21st (June 21) and after that we will let you know the party’s strategy.”
Sangma had earlier on Sunday 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.
Sangma pointed out that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had proposed his name as a candidate for the residential poll.
NCP founder president Sharad Pawar had on Sunday asked Sangma to follow coalition dharma and withdraw from the contest.
The NCP has decided to back UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the prestigious post.
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 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.(ANI)