"syndicate" could turn the tables on UPA presidential candidate
Pranab Mukherjee, his rival P.A. Sangma Wednesday said, recalling
1969 when a conscience vote enabled V.V. Giri to win although he
was pitted against the official Congress candidate.
On the Uttar Pradesh leg of his 'Garo Hills to Raisina Hills'
journey, Sangma, the presidential candidate of the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP), AIADMK, BJD and Akali Dal, asked Congress
members to "wait and watch" the July 19 presidential polls.
The battle for Rashtrapati Bhavan was at a "delicate and defining
point" where people voting in the presidential collegiate were
thinking above party lines and many were being "influenced by
their conscience", Sangma told IANS.
He recalled the events of 1969 when Giri threw up a surprise as
MLAs and MPs voted for him on conscience vote.
The Meghalaya strongman said he would not be surprised if a
"syndicate this time too turned the tables on Pranab Mukherjee".
Asked who were the people in the syndicate, the former Lok Sabha
speaker said time would spill the beans.
According to him, this was the first time that the common person
was "directly involved" in the presidential polls.
"I was in Gujarat a few days back and was pleasantly shocked when
legislators told me that common people from their constituencies
were asking them to vote for the tribal candidate," Sangma said.
There is a 'Vote for Sangma or you have had it' feeling amongst
the presidential voters, he chuckled.
Referring to his rival, Sangma said the former finance minister
was responsible for all the economic troubles of the country.
"I am shocked that the Congress wants to send such a man to the
Rashtrapati Bhavan," he added.
Corruption, he added, had reached a shameful situation when crores
were being swindled by ministers.
"Gone are the days when briefcases were used to carry graft money.
It is now the lorry and truck culture as the money involved in
scams is several lakh crores."
Asked whether his contesting the presidential polls had put his
daughter Agatha's career in peril, he said neither of them were at
the mercy of anyone.
"We come from the ground with people's support and are hence not
Agatha Sangma, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP, is a
minister of state for rural development in the Manmohan Singh
government. The NCP has thrown its weight behind Mukherjee.
Responding to a query on whether she would hear the "inner voice"
during the presidential poll, Sangma said the question should be
asked to her, not him.