BHUBANESWAR: The announcement of BJD support for former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma as the presidential candidate by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has not only taken his party leaders by surprise, it has also put the State Congress in a quandary.
Sangma has experience and he is a good man, but these do not suffice one to be a presidential candidate, senior leader and chairman of the media department of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Narsingh Mishra said, adding that he should have political support.
Criticising the Chief Minister for announcing his support for Sangma without consultations, Mishra said he should have discussed the issue with other political parties before arriving at a consensus on the presidential candidate.
Even as support for Sangma’s candidature came from different frontal organisations of the BJD, including the Biju Mahila Janata Dal (BMJD), the Congress said the AIADMK and the BJD do not have the numbers for ensuring Sangma’s victory.
Mishra said as the AIADMK and the BJD do not have the numbers, Sangma cannot win unless other political parties support his candidature. However, the State Congress leaders refrained from rejecting Sangma’s candidature outright because of the fact that he is a tribal.
Even though publicly supporting Naveen’s announcement, many senior BJD leaders maintain that the step was premature. “He should have waited for sometime more before announcing support to Sangma,” a senior leader said, adding that once the leader has taken a decision, others will have to follow it.
Sources said there was no discussion in the BJD about the presidential candidate before Naveen announced his support for Sangma.
Another senior leader said a presidential candidate cannot win without the support of one of the two national parties __ the Congress and the BJP.
As getting support from the national political parties do not seem to be possible, let us see the stand taken by other regional political parties, a BJD leader said.