Meets Naidu to seek support for his candidature
The Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker, P.A. Sangma, on Monday termed his prospects in the presidential election “very good” and noted that the third front would be the deciding factor.
Talking to journalists after meeting Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu here to seek his “support and blessings,” Mr. Sangma said he made it clear to Mr. Naidu that he would contest as an “independent candidate” and was being “sponsored at the moment” by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik.
Mr. Naidu told him that soon after the completion of Tuesday's by-elections in Andhra Pradesh, he would discuss the issue at the party's executive committee and take a formal decision.
Though he would contest as a “non-NDA, non-UPA” candidate, Mr. Sangma said, he was seeking the support of all: he had met BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj; he also sought an appointment with Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Asked about BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain's remarks that the presidential election would spring a surprise, Mr. Sangma said both the ruling UPA and the NDA did not have a majority, so the outcome would depend on the third front, including Ms. Jayalalithaa, Mr. Patnaik, Mr. Naidu and the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular).
Mr. Sangma said he would meet Mr. Gowda on Tuesday.