Race for President: Congress in doldrums after BJD backs Sangma
New Delhi: Nearly one-week after his meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik finally announced, on Thursday, BJD’s support for former Lok Sabha Speaker and senior NCP leader PA Sangma’s candidature in the presidential race. The election is due to be held in July 2012.
The Odisha chief minister said he had discussed with AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa about Sangma's candidature for the President post.
"The BJD thinks Sangma ought to be the candidate for the highest post,” Patnaik told reporters.
Describing PA Sangma as “distinguished tribal leader,” the Odisha chief minister said, "I had received a letter from Sangma, discussed it with Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa and also consulted senior BJD leaders."
Patnaik further said BJD’s support for Sangma was inevitable as nearly a quarter of Odisha's 4.2 crore population were tribals.
The BJD’s decision to support Sangma was followed by Sangma’s own daughter and Union Minister of State Agatha Sangma who requested the BJD and AIADMK to foster support to his father’s willingness to succeed Pratibha Devisingh Patil and become the next President of India.
After BJD’s support for Sangma (an NCP leader) as the presidential candidate, the UPA may face difficulty and trouble as Sharad Pawar-led NCP is part of UPA and may create political hiccups in Congress’ plan to field either Vice President Hamid Ansari or Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate for July election.