Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is under intense pressure from his party colleagues to expel Union minister Agatha Sangma for defying the party directive by purportedly campaigning for her father Purno A Sangma in presidential elections.
NCP leaders claimed that Agatha, who is the party MP from Tura Lok Sabha constituency in Meghalaya and union minister of state for rural development, has been campaigning for her father on the pretext of attending social functions.
They cited her participation in a meeting of tribals on Monday in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district where she reportedly stated that it would be a welcome gesture if tribal MPs and MLAs voted for her father.
"She is violating the coalition dharma…it is unethical. Her action will encourage indiscipline in the party. She should immediately be sacked from party and government," NCP leader Rajeev Jha said.
Despite being repeatedly asked to withdraw from the presidential contest in favour of UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee, Purno Sangma refused to toe the party line and resigned from the NCP to stay in the race. Though Purno Sangma has maintained that he is a candidate of Tribal Forum of India, the former Lok Sabha speaker and ex-union minister has emerged as the opposition nominee with the backing of BJP, AIADMK and BJD.
Agatha justified her father’s move. "Leaders from BJP, AIADMK and BJD have supported Mr Sangma not only because he is a tribal and represents minority community but because they see him to be somebody who has delivered and has been a very prominent Speaker, an effective union minister and chief minister and somebody they respect."