Jaya steps up campaign for Sangma
Chennai: Lobbying for P A Sangma`s candidature for the presidential polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today spoke to BJP leader L K Advani, Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and other non-Congress leaders including Left parties. Sticking to his earlier stand, Sharad Pawar, leader of NCP of which Sangma is a leader, has said his party will abide by UPA`s "collective decision". Pawar maintained, "we are part of the UPA and will stick to UPA`s collective decision".
Jayalalithaa, who along with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has pitched for Sangma, spoke over telephone to Advani, Yadav, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader A B Bardhan, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Shironmani Akali Dal leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, an AIADMK statement here said. As part of the "intensified efforts" to garner support for Sangma, Jayalalithaa spoke to these leaders seeking their support for the tribal leader from the north-east who "has all the qualifications" (to become President) in the coming Presidential polls, it said.
Jayalalithaa`s latest initiative comes two days after she asked all parties to "rise above political considerations," and support the tribal leader for the top job. In a coordinated move, Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart had on May 17 announced their joint support to Sangma. The AIADMK chief had held consultations with Patnaik besides within her party before announcing her support to Sangma, who himself had called on her on May 15.PTI VS
While the names of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have been doing the rounds as front runners for President`s post, there has been no official word on it from the Congress. Congress is holding consultations with its allies to evolve a consensus and the BJP is also trying to rally support among NDA allies on a common choice for the presidential polls due in July this year.
In Delhi, BJP sources said Jayalithaa had called Advani in the afternoon to seek his party`s support for Sangma`s candidature for Presidentship. Advani informed her that he would discuss the matter within the party and then form a view. BJP and NDA have not yet decided their stand on any candidate for the Presidential election. BJP-led alliance is likely to meet soon after the party`s national executive which is to be held in Mumbai on May 24 and 25.
BJP has, however, made it clear that it will not support a Congress candidate for the top post. In Tiruchirappalli, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan said his party would support UPA candidate for Presidency. Asked about the candidature of former Lok Sabha Speaker Sangma for the top post, he said "all are our friends. But we will support only the candidate chosen by UPA."