Jaya calls SP, BJP, Left to push Sangma

Stepping up her campaign to promote former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma’s presidential candidature, Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa on Sunday contacted top leaders of several non-Congress parties, including the BJP’s L.K. Advani and Samajwadi boss Mulayam Singh Yadav, seeking their support for the tribal leader from the Northeast.
The AIADMK chief also spoke over the telephone to CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader A.B. Bardhan, Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and Punjab chief minister and Akali Dal boss Parkash Singh Badal, an AIADMK release said.
This issue got momentum after Ms Jayalaithaa and Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik openly backed Mr Sangma’s candidacy a few days back. Ms Jayalalitha’s Sunday exercise was aimed at uniting the NDA and third front parties against the Congress on this issue.
But the Samajwadi Party said later Sunday it will not take any decision in haste, while CPI national secretary D. Raja reiterated his party’s view that he/she should be “political” and “acceptable”. The CPI is expected to throw more light on its position after a meeting on May 23.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had recently indicated her party was unlikely to go along with the Left on this issue, which suggests that she could support the Congress candidate.
BJP sources said Mr Advani told Ms Jayalalithaa he would discuss the matter within the party, and then form a view. The BJP and NDA are yet to take a decision on any candidate for the presidential election. The NDA is likely to meet on this soon after the BJP national executive meets in Mumbai on May 24 and 25.
The Congress has already made it clear it would talk to allies, supporting parties and “like-minded parties” on this matter individually and collectively, either by the end of this month or the first week of next month.
Sources have said the BJP and the Left might vote on the same side if the Congress fields finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. But Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is tightlipped on her stand about the presidential election.
Mr Sangma is one of the founder members of the NCP, but the party is not backing his candidature. While Mr Sangma says he is standing as a tribal candidate, most tribal leaders are likely to vote according to their party’s line.
The RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Lok Janshakti Party’s Ramvilas Paswan have indicated they are likely to back the UPA candidate.


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