New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha and Nationalist Congress Party leader PA Sangma's dream of becoming the next President of India suffered a major blow on Tuesday as Congress President Sonia Gandhi snubbed him. Sonia denied Sangma an appointment amidst reports that the Congress and his own party, the NCP, won't back his candidature for the President's post.
Sources say the Sonia snub is a clear indication that she has not forgiven Sangma for raking up her foreign origin issue. Sangma had sought an appointment to meet Sonia at her 10 Janpath residence, but the request was denied.
Sangma had been earlier pulled up by NCP chief Sharad Pawar for declaring that he was eyeing the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Pawar has said that his party would abide by UPA's "collective decision".
The NCP also pointed out that the party lacks the numbers to field its own Presidential candidate and will wait for the Congress to declare its own candidate first.
"NCP doesn't have strength to field our own candidate. We will wait for the Congress to declare its nominee first," said NCP leader Tariq Anwar.
Earlier, Sangma met Biju Janata Dal Dal supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday morning. The two leaders discussed Sangma's prospects with Patnaik saying that the NCP leader was the best possible candidate for the top job from the tribal community. Sangma also appealed to the UPA and other parties to endorse his candidature.
"We have sent appeals to all political parties. The Chief Minister of Odisha was among the first to respond along with (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister) Jayalaithaa. We hope that other political parties will respond to the call of tribal people," said Sangma.
Sangma has met several leaders including Jayalalithaa and Communist Party of India leader D Raja seeking their support in the July elections to the top post. Raja said Sangma met him and handed over a letter signed by tribal MPs who are canvassing for a tribal leader to be elected as President.