With BJD and AIADMK indicating their preference for PA Sangma as Presidential candidate, the NCP leader today thanked them saying they have been responsive to the aspirations of tribals and appealed to other parties to support a candidate from the community.
Sangma, however, said finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is considered a front-runner for the ruling UPA's candidature, is "very highly qualified" for the post but said there are other qualified people and insisted that the President this time should be from among tribals.
"I am very happy about it and I am extremely grateful to both the leaders (BJD's Naveen Patnaik and AIADMK's Jayalalithaa). They have been very responsive to our (tribals) aspirations. So on behalf of tribals in India, who are more than 100 million, I would convey my sincere thanks to them," he said.
He also appealed to other parties to follow suit and support the tribal cause.
When asked whether he will support any other tribal candidate, Sangma said he was not the only tribal who could be the President. "Anyone tribal. It can be (tribal affairs minister) Kishore Chandra Deo, Arvind Netam (Congress), Kariya Munda (BJP)...it should be a tribal this time."
In this case, he said, he was not representing NCP but the whole tribals.
"In our group there are MPs and MLAs and former MPs from all parties.... I have spoken to Kishore Chandra Deo and he has said we should fight for our cause, why not? So we are all one. There is nothing like A, B or C political party," he said.
"We belong to different political parties but we belong to tribal community. We are representing tribal community," he said.