New Delhi: The gloves are off in the battle for presidency. Former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma on Monday challenged UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee's nomination for the presidential contest, claiming he holds an office of profit as head of the Indian Statistical Institute.
The Pranab camp hit back saying he resigned from an honorary post in the ISI in June itself.
The rivals of the man with the numbers are seeking the cancellation of his nomination, the scrutiny of which has been deferred till Tuesday.
"His nomination is invalid. He is holding an office of profit," said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Sangma's returning officer Satpal Jain.
He has accused Pranab Mukherjee of still holding the post of chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute, a post which according to him is a post of profit.
However, the Congress has rejected the charge, saying..Pranab was just an honorary chairman, and that he had resigned in advance.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan 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."
However, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress saying, "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."
The matter will now be settled on Tuesday in Parliament, when representatives of PA Sangma and Pranab Mukherjee argue their case before the secretary general of Rajya Sabha, who is also the returning officer for presidential elections. The battle is just warming up.