Presidential post aspirant P A Sangma on Sunday reiterated about ‘hidden’ votes, which will play a crucial role in his bid for the top official job of the country, while addressing the MLAs and MPs of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) here.
“So far 18 political parties have extended their support to me. Some other parties have (also) decided to internally support us. Some of them will announce their decision within couple of days and some may not declare at all. But I can assure you, they are with us,” he said during his campaign tour to the state ahead of the presidential poll on July 19.
As political parties are barred from issuing whip for the presidential election, he said, he has full confidence to win the contest, which can be as significant as 1969 when there was strong contest between V V Giri and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
“This is going to be a historic presidential election. The kind of involvement is shown by common man (in discussing and debating about the presidential poll) is unbelievable,” he said at the BJD party office here, expressing his gratitude to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the BJD for announcing his candidature first.
A few days ago in Uttar Pradesh, Sangma had accused the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre about providing economic packages to selected states and using CBI investigation to buy votes for its presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee. However, on Sunday, he did not mention about the issue, which was first raised by Odisha Chief Minister.
Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Naveen Patnaik , talked about the power of regional parties in national politics.
“Few hours after the BJD announced Sangma’s candidature, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa also announced her support, and a month later, national party Baharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to support him. The regional parties have taken a lead in fulfilling the hopes and aspiration of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the rebel BJD leaders and former ministers, who faced disciplinary action only last month, have announced their support for Sangma.
“I represent a constituency which is dominated by tribals. Besides, Sangma is the choice of our party supremo Naveen Patnaik. I will definitely support him,” said Sarada Nayak, the former urban development minister and MLA from Sundergarh district.
In a separate meeting at state BJP headquarter, 64-year old Sangma thanked the party for providing a boost to his candidature by announcing its support.
“The Congress people were laughing at me as I had only 6 per cent votes (of BJD and AIADMK). But when the BJP announced its support, the Congress became nervous,” the former Lok Sabha speaker said addressing BJP state unit on Sunday.
All BJP MLAs and MPs from Odisha will vote for Sangma, said party leader K V Singh Deo.