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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Prez poll: Pranab writes to Mamata; Sangma optimistic

PTI  Srinagar/Bhubaneswar, July 15, 2012
First Published: 21:03 IST(15/7/2012) | Last Updated: 21:23 IST(15/7/2012)

With three days left for the Presidential poll, UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday wrote to Mamata Banerjee seeking her support while his rival PA Sangma claimed to have the support of 18 political parties and some Congressmen.

"The President stands above party politics. Given an opportunity, it shall be my endeavour to protect the values of this office: integrity, impartiality and the promotion of 'Sarva dharma sambhav' which constitute the essence and spirit of our Constitution," Mukherjee wrote in the letter.

The West Bengal chief minister chose to make public Mukherjee's letter by posting it on her Facebook page stating that she received it on Sunday.

"If my election has any meaning, it is only as part of our common service to our motherland. It is in this spirit that I seek your valuable support in this election," Mukherjee said, adding he is honoured that UPA allies and other parties have considered him worthy for the post.

In Bhubaneswar, Sangma claimed that his prospect in Thursday's Presidential election is "very good" and that he was optimistic of a repeat of 1969 when VV Giri had defeated the official candidate of Congress.

"Since there is no restriction, whip or any written direction in this election, I am hopeful of getting support of many MLAs and MPs. Therefore, my prospect in the elections is very good," Sangma said after meeting MLAs and MPs of the ruling BJD and opposition BJP.

The former Lok Sabha speaker claimed 18 political parties were already backing his candidature and said he was expecting support from some Congressmen too.

"Eighteen political parties have given commitment to support me. Some parties are likely to announce their decision in a day or two while others may not announce at all. We hope they will vote for us," he said.

Later in Guwahati, Sangma called upon MLAs and MPs of the Congress party to vote for him without fear, saying there was no official whip barring them from doing so and cited the presence of secret ballot.

"Nobody has to be afraid. I am conveying this particular message to the Congress MLAs and MPs. Constitution says you can vote for anybody whom you want. Party cannot dictate to you. It is your choice, your conscience."

In his letter, Mukherjee recalled that he began his public life in his ancestral village in West Bengal and was schooled in politics by the pro-poor commitment of Indira Gandhi.

"And it remains my dream to eliminate the last vestiges of that terrifying affliction called poverty within our lifetimes," he said.

The Trinamool Congress chief has already said that she would make known her decision on whom to support three days before the presidential polls on July 19.

When asked by reporters in Srinagar earlier in the day, if he would appeal to Trinamool, an ally of UPA at the Centre, to vote for him, Mukherjee said, "I appeal to her almost every day...that is for her to decide.

Mukherjee met the legislators of the ruling National Conference - Congress coalition, opposition PDP and three independent MLAs to drum up support for his Presidential bid.

The former Union finance minister said his meetings were part of thanksgiving to those political parties which have extended support to his candidature.

The electoral college for the Presidential poll comprises 4,896 electors, including 233 members of Rajya Sabha and 543 of Lok Sabha, besides 4,120 members of state assemblies, having a total of 10,98,882 votes.

Pranab for President 

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