BJP backs Sangma, allies differ
New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Even as its allies differed, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday went ahead and announced it will back former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma for the presidential race.
After a week of hectic parleys that yielded little results, the BJP Thursday made its stand clear, appealing to its allies to join the camp. It also admitted to lack of consensus in its ranks.
"We had two candidates, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (former president) and Sangma. As Kalamji decided not to contest, so the second one was Sangma," Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.
"We all decided P.A. Sangma is the most suitable candidate. So BJP supports P.A. Sangma as its presidential candidate," she said.
"We held several formal and informal meetings, but a consensus could not be achieved. Two of our constituent parties are still not in favour of it, but we have decided we need to back a candidate," she said.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley appealed to National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies to support Sangma.
"We will appeal to all allies to rethink on their stand and support Sanmga," Jaitley said.
However, minutes after the BJP's press conference, Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav told reporters here that they were sticking to their stand.
"According to the present situation, our support is to Pranab Mukherjee, but we are not supporting Congress," he said.
He also said "there is no threat to the alliance (NDA)", and they were in favour of Mukherjee, not the Congress.
The BJP, meanwhile, said it was for the sake of democracy to have a contest.
Jaitley said they were not ready to support the ruling alliance in an election where an "investigating agency" was being used to garner support.
"We don't want to support a government which has maneuvered investigating agencies to the support of a political class," he said.
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