New Delhi: The 2012 Presidential poll seems to have divided parties and alliances across the political spectrum, even after the two candidates have been decided.
After almost a week long deliberations, the BJP on Thursday decided to support the candidature of PA Sangma. Its ally Shiromani Akali Dal also decided on the same lines. But two of the most crucial allies of the BJP – the Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal United (JD-U) – took a call to go against it and back UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
On the other hand, the Left in its meeting failed to reach on consensus on the issue. While the CPM chose to back Pranab, the CPI decided against going with either of the candidates and to abstain from voting.
A meeting of the NCP Parliamentary Board took place on Thursday evening to discuss the Presidential poll but Union Minister Agatha Sangma was conspicuous by her absence.
But party leaders scotched any speculation about the absence of Agatha, the daughter of PA Sangma who has entered the Presidential race after quitting the party.
Minutes before the start of the meeting, Agatha informed party chief Sharad Pawar that she would be unable to attend due to some "unavoidable reasons".
The NCP Parliamentary Board decided to instruct all the party MPs and MLAs to vote for UPA Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, NCP General Secretary DP Tripathi said.
Earlier in the day, NDA ally JD(U) announced its support for UPA's Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said, "Our support to Pranab is due to the present scenario, this is not a support to the UPA." He said that since APJ Abdul Kalam withdrew from the race, the situation had changed and the NDA failed to arrive at a consensus.
NDA and Left parties split on Thursday over the Presidential poll as some of their constituents pledged support to Pranab who appears set for a runaway victory over PA Sangma, backed by BJP, AIADMK and BJD.
As momentum for the July 19 poll picked up, BJP announced support for Sangma while its major ally JD(U) expressed backing for Mukherjee, becoming the second ally after Shiv Sena to break ranks with the NDA.
Showing deep divisions between BJP and JD(U) over the issue, leaders of the two parties held separate press conferences within an hour of each other to announce support for rival candidates.
(With additional inputs from PTI)