The BJP attempted to project PA Sangma's filing of the presidential nomination as a show of strength on Tuesday, terming the impending contest as a fight against a "failed" UPA government.
Sangma, who was initially propped by the AIADMK and BJD but later found support in the BJP, SAD and AGP, played the tribal card to the hilt - even as current projections depicted an contest where the numbers were starkly against him.
Sangma's nomination filing became a high-profile event, with LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and others leaders from the BJP making their presence felt.
The occasion was also marked by the presence of chief ministers Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Manohar Parikkar (Goa).
The support extended by AGP came as some relief for the BJP, which was grasping at straws after allies - including the JD(U) and Shiv Sena - deserted it. While there were speculations that Jayalalithaa's absence showed that she was unhappy, BJP sources rubbished them - contending that she had told Advani she was on a break. She had, instead, sent M Thambidurai along, they added.
It also helped that JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, who proposed Mukherjee's name, had decided to keep away from the filing of his nomination. Yadav said, "Our support for the UPA's presidential nominee does not amount to backing the UPA or its policies."
Sangma attacked the Congress for not supporting a tribal candidate for the post of President.
The BJP's core group met in the evening and decided to convene an office-bearers' meet on July 2 to plan for the presidential poll.