Sangma quits NCP, contest with Mukherjee on cards
New Delhi, PTI: A contest between UPA heavyweight Pranab Mukherjee and P A Sangma appears to be in the offing for Presidential poll as the former Lok Sabha Speaker quit NCP today amid indications that BJP and some other allies in NDA will support him. 64-year-old Sangma resigned from NCP a day before its Parliamentary Board meeting amid warnings that disciplinary action will be taken if he pressed his candidature in the poll. After division in its ranks, NDA heaved a sigh of relief as BJP and some other allies appeared set to back Sangma with a formal decision expected soon.
The Left parties are also meeting tomorrow to decide their strategy for the Presidential elections. Though Mukherjee reached out to the Left when he called CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat for support, the latter was non-committal. The NCP meeting has lost much of its significance after Sangma quit the party. Congress made light of any serious challenge to Mukherjee in the contest, with party spokesperson Rashid Alvi saying "Pranab Mukhkerjee is sure to become the President of the country. He will have no problem at all (in winning the Presidential election)." Though NDA is divided with Shiv Sena declaring support for Mukherjee and JD(U) insisting on a consensus for Mukherjee, BJP, SAD and Janata Party will in all likelihood rally behind Sangma. Fully aware that Sangma stands little chance of winning, the BJP leaders are going for a contest in order to broadbase the opposition alliance given the fact that he has been backed AIADMK and BJD.