As BJP backed PA Sangma in the presidential race, Congress on Thursday rejected as "childish" the Opposition party's complaint that it was not consulted before UPA zeroed in on Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate.
Dubbing Sangma as BJP's "borrowed" candidate, Congress also said the Opposition party was backing the former Lok Sabha Speaker only for the sake of a contest.
"They are fielding a candidate only for the sake of contest. They are playing some political game. This is all useless talk that we did not take initiative," AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters at New Delhi.
Having a dig at the Opposition party, he recalled that "even in 2002 when BJP had proposed APJ Abdul Kalam's name, we did not go hunting for candidates but supported him."
Dwivedi was reacting to BJP's allegation that UPA held no prior consultation with it before finalising Mukherjee as its candidtate for the July 19 polls and its assertion that the Opposition party did not want to give Congress a walkover.
"This is a childish complaint that they were not consulted before or after. As soon as the UPA candidate was decided, prime minister Manmohan Singh sought their support," he said, adding that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also appealed to all political parties to support Mukherjee.
"Whatever the BJP has said today is a bit far from reality. They should have placed the entire picture. Congress could not have announced the candidate alone...," he said.
"What would we have discussed with them before finalising the name of our candidate," he said.
The Congress leader also said Sangma may be having many qualities but there is no comparison between him and Mukherjee.
"Moreover, Sangma is not their candidate. He is the candidate of somebody else. He is a borrowed candidate for them," Dwivedi said.
He wondered why BJP leaders could not tell the prime minister clearly about their opposition to Mukherjee when he had sought their support.
"Why were they discussing the name of Kalam at that time...? When Kalam backed out, there were only two candidates in the fray...Why BJP did not come to a decision?" he asked.
Dwivedi welcomed the support offered to Mukherjee by JD(U) and Shiv Sena, both NDA allies.