New Delhi: Even as UPA's Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee emerges as a possible winner in the Presidential race, former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma said he was very much in the race and was confident of winning the election. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Sangma said, "I've never lost any election. In fact my winning margin has increased with every election."
When asked if he was just fighting a token election with a clear winner, Sangma said the fight wasn't a token fight, it was serious. "The Presidential election is not at all a token fight, it's a serious fight. The split within the NDA and other parties indicates that it's a serious election," Sangma said. Speaking about the NDA split, Sangma said, "Even Pranab hasn't got the entire UPA's support."
Sangma said he was confident of winning the election as the voting takes place through secret ballot. "The voting takes place through secret ballot, so the question of numbers doesn't arise at the moment. I am confident of conscience votes."
Sangma also indicated that he was hopeful of getting the support of the Trinamool Congress. "I'm really hopeful of getting Mamata Banerjee's support," he said.
When asked about the sudden change in his stance and supporting the NDA, Sangma said he wasn't a political turncoat. "I'm consistent with my principles. I'm a nationalist and a pro-poor leader, he said.
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 Pranab Mukherjee.
On the other hand, the Left in its meeting failed to reach a 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. Sangma, a senior NCP leader who was earlier in Congress, chose to defy his party's appeal to withdraw from the race and resigned from the organisation instead.
The NCP also decided to support Pranab. However, after Sangma quit the NCP, his daughter, Agatha Sangma's fate in the party was uncertain. She was also missing from the party's meet on Thursday. "My daughter has not made up her mind yet on quitting the government," Sangma said.