Undeterred by appeals and veiled warning from his Nationalist Congress Party, the former Lok Sabha Speaker, P.A. Sangma, is no mood to pull out of the race for President. “I have appealed to the Trinamool Congress chief [Mamata Banerjee] to support my candidature. She was insisting on Mr. Kalam. I said Mr. Kalam had opted out of the race.”

Asked about his party chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s appeal to him to withdraw his candidature, Mr. Sangma said he would appeal to Mr. Pawar to back his candidature.

Mr. Pawar said NCP leader D.P. Tripathy had conveyed to Mr. Sangma the party's view that he should not press for his candidature. “We have called a meeting for June 21 on the Presidential issue.”

(According to a PTI report, Mr. Pawar has even threatened action against Mr. Sangma if he persisted.)

Mr. Pawar pointed out that he, along with Praful Patel and Mr. Sangma’s daughter Agatha, represented the party at the Centre.

Asked whether he was defying the party’s stand, Mr. Sangma said: “I have maintained, right from the beginning, that I am a candidate of the Tribal Forum of India, which has nothing to with any political party.”

More In: National | News