Cong rejects Sangma's demand for a debate with Mukherjee

Congress today rejected opposition Presidential nominee P A Sangma's demand for a debate with UPA's Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee saying the President of India is not supposed to be managing the economy of the country.

"Constitution does not ordain or mandate that the President of India manage the economy of the country.

Therefore, the suggestion for the debate is non sequitur (a statement that does not logically follow the previous statement) and non-starter," Party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters here.

He was responding to questions on Sangma's remarks about the Indian economy being in "bad" shape and his demand for a debate with Mukherjee.

Tewari also rejected BJP's allegation that a consensus could not be built on the issue of Presidential election because the ruling alliance did not talk to the opposition before finalising its candidate.

Terming such arguments as "hairsplitting", Tewari said BJP should have demonstrated "magnanimity" like some of the NDA allies did and "one should go by substance and not form".

"If somebody decides to have a contest for the sake of a contest, it will find such excuses. And that is precisely what BJP is doing," he said.

Tewari also reminded that when NDA had decided on the name of A P J Abdul Kalam as a presidential candidate in 2002, UPA had supported its candidate without any rancour.

He reiterated the party's appeal to all political parties' support to Mukherjee's candidature and hoped the parties, which are still opposing him, will revisit their stand given the political landscape in the country.

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