Former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma on Saturday appealed to the leaders of all political parties to vote for him in the election for the post of President of India.
Sangma, who began his campaign for the presidential election here today, urged the members of Electoral College, consisting of lawmakers and legislators, to vote for him because election is conducted through secret ballet.
"Article 55 of the Constitution is very clear. Election for the post of President shall be by secret ballet. It is secret ballet. It is above political party. I belong to northeast. I am tribal from northeast. I appeal to all political parties, I appeal to all members of the Electoral College to vote for me without any fear," he said.
The 64-year-old leader from Meghalaya expressed gratitude to the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for supporting him in the race to Raisina Hill.
"I am very happy that I am getting lot of support from the northeast and I am grateful to Prafulla Mahanta, former chief minister of Assam and the president of the AGP (Asom Gana Parishad), and all the others," added Sangma.
Sangma disagreed that the President was considered as the ceremonial head of the state.
"President can't be a ceremonial head. President has to advise the government. President has to warn the government. Though President is to be aided and advised by the council of ministers, but he can have his opinion and should have his opinion. I am very strongly of that view," he added.
Referring to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, he said that he would never support any foreigner to be the Prime Minister or President of India.
"I will never support any foreigner to be Prime Minister or President of India, I am very clear about it," added Sangma.
Sangma, who filed his nomination papers for the presidential election earlier on Thursday, quit the NCP earlier this month on grounds that his self-respect was being compromised.
Sangma, who is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed contestant, was first picked as a contender for president by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The vote count will take place on July 22.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil's term as President ends on July 24. (ANI)