Sangma was picked to counter Cong tribal choice | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sangma was picked to counter Cong tribal choice

delhi Updated: May 22, 2012 01:44 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik's decision to root for PA Sangma as a Presidential poll candidate was prompted by their "understanding" that Sonia Gandhi would eventually pick a tribal leader as the UPA nominee.

In fact, it was the Tamil Nadu CM who felt strongly so.

"Inputs" available with her indicated that Gandhi would most likely pick Union tribal affairs minister Krishna Chandra Deo or one of the other Congress tribal leaders.

Jayalalithaa conveyed the "information" to Patnaik who named Sangma, which she readily accepted as the "best" choice.

Subsequently, Sangma called on Jayalalithaa in Chennai last week to discuss the issue, according to ADMK officials who said Patnaik did not want non-Congress parties to lose the initiative of projecting a tribal leader to the Congress.

Patnaik, it is believed, then conveyed the sequence of events to BJP leader LK Advani a few days ago, BJP sources said.

On Sunday, Jayalalithaa spoke to NDA and Left leaders - LK Advani (BJP), Prakash Karat (CPM), AB Bardhan (CPI), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Mulayam Singh (SP) and Parkash Singh Badal (SAD) - to garner support for Sangma's candidature.

Jayalalithaa told Advani that she wanted the BJP as well as the NDA to consider Sangma's name. To which, Advani indicated that the NDA would meet and take a view on her proposal.

Backing Jayalalithaa's lobbying for Sangma, Patnaik on Monday stepped up the campaign for him.

"He is a tribal leader, a distinguished tribal leader and as I suggested it and my party supports it that a tribal leader for the first time in the history of our Republic be the seniormost person of India ... that a tribal leader become Rashtrapati."

Advani on Monday conveyed to other NDA leaders in Parliament what transpired between Jayalalithaa and him.

ADMK sources said Jayalalithaa, along with Patnaik, had not "plunged" into the task of projecting Sangma without "some homework". A senior ADMK official said: "She does not do anything without much thinking."