Pranab, Sangma file nominations for Prez poll

Mukherjee will get votes beyond anyones imagination: Bansal

The race to the Raisina Hill was formally flagged off on Thursday, with Pranab Mukherjee and P A Sangma filing the nomination papers for the July 19 election.

“I am fortunate, honoured and humbled to be nominated by UPA. The nomination was endorsed by a large number of political parties. I seek support of all those, including the Trinamool Congress, who has not yet decided,” said Mukherjee.

He was accompanied by an entourage comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh, Lok Janshakti Party's Ram Vilas Paswan, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah, Indian Union Muslim League's E Ahmed, T R Baalu of DMK and senior AICC office bearers.

The septuagenarian Congress leader from Bengal also enjoys the support of NDA allies Janata Dal-United and Shiv Sena, apart from the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The enthusiasm in UPA over Mukherjee having a clear edge over Sangma was reflected in Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s statement. “He (Mukherjee) will get votes beyond anyone's imagination. It is a one-sided affair. He will get a thumping majority,” Bansal said.

Extent of desire

Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, who went to the extent of quitting the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to contest the poll, was accompanied by BJP president Nitin Gadkari, senior leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. “Today is a victory of tribal unity, that a tribal is filing his nomination for the post of president,” Sangma said before submitting his papers.

Sangma clarifies

Sangma, however, clarified that he was a candidate sponsored by the Tribal Forum of India, nominated by the chief ministers of Odisha and Tamil Nadu and backed by BJP and other NDA allies.
Meanwhile, the Congress party suspended former Union minister and tribal leader Arvind Netam from the party with immediate effect, hours after he backed P A Sangma for the forthcoming Presedential elections.

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