Mamata should rationally support Sangma: Sushma

Bhopal: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj today said that Trinamool Congress President and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should rationally extend support to BJP-backed candidate, P A Sangma for the presidential polls.

"Mamata`s candidate was former President APJ Abdul Kalam who has refused to contest the Presidential polls so rationally, she should have supported Sangma, who is a capable leader from the Northeast," Swaraj told reporters after courting arrest as part of the BJP`s nation-wide protest on the issue or rising prices of food items and petrol.

"Sangma will also speak to Mamata on the issue soon," the senior BJP leader said. When asked about BJP`s opinion on Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s capability as Presidential candidate, "If Congress wanted to project him as a consensus candidate then its President Sonia Gandhi should have taken into confidence Opposition parties as was done by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the case of Kalam. The pre-condition of consensus is pre-consultation and not the other way round," she said while blaming Congress leadership for the current situation on the issue of Presidential election.

Denying that NDA was disintegrating on the issue of Presidential election, Swaraj said," it is a mature coalition and there is no question of it disintegrating on the issue of Presidential polls. Swaraj said in the past also, during presidential polls, parties like Shiv Sena had extended support to then Congress candidate in the name of `Marathi Manush` and despite that remained with the NDA.

To a poser on the demand of a secular Prime Minister as raised by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, she said it was not the right time to raise the issue. When asked about the fire in the Maharashtra Mantralaya and its relation to the Adarsh scam files, she said, "let things come out first, but if it is a conspiracy as feared then certainly it is a matter of concern."

On the issue of rising petrol prices, she said the Centre`s logic that international prices of crude resulted in the increase in fuel prices is totally wrong. When asked why the state governments are not reducing taxes on petrol to check its price as advised by the Centre, she said it was not possible that the Centre continues to increase prices and expects states to reduce taxes.

It would be better if both the Centre and the states reduce taxes on petrol to keep its price under control. Swaraj also blamed the Centre`s wrong policies and rising corruption of UPA Ministers for the inflation in the country and also criticised it for meting out step motherly treatment to the Opposition specially, BJP-ruled states.