Pranab fresh appeal to Mamata, Sangma optimistic

Srinagar/Bhubaneswar: With three days left for the Presidential poll, UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee today made a fresh appeal to Mamata Banerjee to support him while his rival P A Sangma claimed to have the support of 18 political parties and some Congressmen. "I appeal to her almost every day…that is for her to decide," Mukherjee told reporters in Srinagar when asked if he would appeal to Banerjee, chief of Trinamool Congress, an ally of UPA at the Centre, to vote for him.

Mamata is yet to take a decision on her party`s position on the Presidential poll to be held on July 19. Mukherjee met the legislators of the ruling National Conference – Congress coalition, opposition PDP and three independent MLAs to drum up support for his Presidential bid. The former Union Finance Minister said his meetings were part of thanksgiving to those political parties which have extended support to his candidature.

In Bhubaneswar, Sangma claimed that his prospect in Thursday`s Presidential election is "very good" and that he was optimistic of a repeat of 1969 when V V Giri had defeated the official candidate of Congress. "Since there is no restriction, whip or any written direction in this election, I am hopeful of getting support of many MLAs and MPs. Therefore, my prospect in the elections is very good," Sangma said after meeting MLAs and MPs of the ruling BJD and opposition BJP.

The former Lok Sabha speaker claimed 18 political parties were already backing his candidature and said he was expecting support from some Congressmen too. "Eighteen political parties have given commitment to support me. Some parties are likely to announce their decision in a day or two while others may not announce at all. We hope they will vote for us," he said.