Syndicate could turn tables on Pranab: Sangma

By Mohit Dubey, IANS,

Lucknow: A “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.

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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 afraid.”

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.