Sangma quits NCP over Presidential race row

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NEW DELHI, JUNE 20: Refusing to withdraw from the Presidential race, former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma on Wednesday resigned from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after his party issued a diktat asking him to support UPA’s nominee Pranab Mukherjee for the post of President.

Here is the text of his resignation letter:

“I hereby tender my resignation from the primary membership of the Nationalist Congress Party with immediate effect.”

“I place on record my deep gratitude to the President, office bearers and rank and file of the Nationalist Congress Party for the courtesies extended to me by them at personal level while I was the member of the Party.”

Janata Party chief Subramaniam Swamy, addressing a press conference after his meeting with Sangma, said that the former Lok Sabha Speaker has the backing of the Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK, but he chose to quit the NCP party because he has self-respect.

Swamy said that the Congress and the NCP had humiliated Sangma by offering him the high commissionership of Mauritius.

Swamy said that Sangma had been humiliated. He said this kind of behaviour is expected from Sonia Gandhi, who is not educated. “She says she is educated from Cambridge, but the fact is she is not.”

Swamy says the NDA is trying to build a consensus around Sangma. He also praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying few Indian politicians have the kind of spine she has. She will certainly support Sangma, Swamy added.

Stressing that he appreciated Sangma’s stand, he added that the NDA will meet at BJP stalwart L K Advani’s residence at 6 p.m. on Wednesday over the issue of the presidential polls.

The NCP on Tuesday had expressed confidence that Sangma will ultimately support UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. On Sangma’s refusal to withdraw from the presidential race, NCP leader Tripathi had said: “He is a senior leader. We are meeting on June 21 and he will attend the meeting. We are confident he will support the UPA candidate.

On June 15, Sangma said, “I will be contesting. As of now I am a candidate sponsored by two chief ministers and I am still in the race”. Interestingly, the NCP, a part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), has not backed Sangma.

“I am in the fray as a tribal candidate, not as a NCP candidate,” he said. Sangma pointed out that ADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had proposed his name as their candidate for the presidential poll.

Asked whether he would withdraw his candidature if NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked him to, Sangma said: “No… I have committed to people supporting me.” Sources said Sangma’s daughter, Agatha Sangma, had already been reprimanded by party leaders for “openly campaigning” for her father without “proper authorisation”.

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