New Delhi: The team of presidential candidate P A Sangma on Monday formally challenged the nomination of UPA's Pranab Mukherjee for the contest, accusing him of holding an office of profit as the head of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).
However, the Congress has hit back dismissing all allegations and claiming that the former finance minister had resigned from the position before filing his nomination for the presidential elections.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, "Pranab Mukherjee has resigned from this position also, quite a few days back and so no question arises. I'm just saying that this objection of theirs is factually incorrect and legally ill-conceived and untenable."
Meanwhile, the Indian Statistical Institute has also confirmed that the veteran Congress leader resigned as its chairman on June 20. The ISI Kolkata also said that the position held by Mukherjee was an honorary one, and he did not take any remuneration for the same.
However, the BJP continued its attack over the issue saying the claims of the Congress were factually incorrect.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "What the Congress is saying is factually not correct. We will await a proper reply from the representatives of Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow. This is the issue of the top office of country."
Sources close to Mukherjee confirmed that had been given the honourary post of the head of Indian Statistical Institute, but he quit before filing his nomination paper for the Presidential election. Sources say that Mukherjee only attended the ISI ceremonies.
Sources said the scrutiny of nomination papers for the Presidential election has been postponed to Tuesday.
Mukherjee is considered to be the overwhelming favourite as he is supported by the all Congress-led United Progressive Alliance partners except the Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, Janata Dal (United), Communist Party of India-Marxist and several smaller parties.
On the other hand Sangma has the backing of the BJP, Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK.