CHENNAI : Just days after gaining the upper hand in the coming Presidential polls by becoming the first to announce an official candidate for the election, Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo
J Jayalalithaa on Sunday spoke to leaders from across the political spectrum to support Nationalist Congress Party leader PA Sangma for the Presidency.
Jayalalithaa had announced she was throwing her weight behind Sangma, even as her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik had done so from Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
On Sunday, Jayalalithaa spoke over the telephone with leaders left and right, from BJP patriarch LK Advani and Shiromani Akali Dal chief and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal to CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI veteran AB Bardhan.
Apart from the national leaders, Jayalalithaa also reached out to a range of regional leaders, including Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
A press release from the AIADMK office said Jayalalithaa had appealed to all these leaders to announce their support for Sangma, who had earlier served in the Constitutional post of Lok Sabha Speaker. She also appealed for support for Sangma on the grounds that India so far has not had a President from a tribal community. She also played up his origin from the Northeast.
As part of the “intensified efforts” to garner support for Sangma, Jayalalithaa spoke to these national and regional leaders seeking their support to the tribal leader from the Northeast who “has all the qualifications” (to become President) in the coming Presidential polls, it said. Jayalalithaa’s support for Sangma, along with Patnaik’s backing, is seen as a proposition that could be difficult not to back, over fear of alienating tribal and Northeastern votes ahead of the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Jayalalithaa and Patnaik now head into the Presidential race with the advantage of being the first parties to formally announce a candidate. None of the other major parties have announced their candidates for the country’s highest office, with many parties remaining tight-lipped over speculations.