TODAY -

NDA splits further BJP backs Sangma, JD (U) for Pranab
Source: The Sangai Express / Press Trust of India

New Delhi, June 21 2012: The presidential poll today split NDA further with BJP announcing support for P A Sangma and JD(U) backing UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee, becoming the second ally after Shiv Sena to break ranks with the Opposition coalition.

Leaders of BJP and JD(U) held separate press conferences within an hour of each other to announce support for rival candidates for the poll to be held on July 19, in which Mukherjee has a clear edge with 5.88 lakh out of nearly 11 lakh votes in his favour.

Sangma is expected to garner only 3.10 lakh votes.

BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley said the party decided to support Sangma, whose candidature has been proposed by AIADMK and BJD, after trying unsuccessfully to evolve a consensus within NDA on it.

They noted that JD(U) and Shiv Sena had not agreed on supporting Sangma and instead backed Mukherjee but insisted that it will have no impact on the "mature" coalition of NDA.

"We regret we could not persuade our allies...We hope they will review their position," Jaitley said.

Swaraj said BJP would try to bring Trinamool, which broke ranks with UPA, also on board and talks were on for it.

Both Swaraj and Jaitley argued that it was BJP's duty, being the main Opposition, not to allow a "walkover" to UPA which did not "consult" it before announcing the candidature of Mukherjee.

Jaitley said the BJP could not support a government which is using "various manoeuvres", including investigative agencies, to rope in parties to stay in power.

Describing Sangma as "the country's tall leader" besides North East's "tallest leader", Swaraj appealed to Shiv Sena and JD-U to give up their opposition to his candidature.


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