Presidential candidate PA Sangma, who is being backed by the BJP among other parties, on Wednesday renewed his attack on the UPA's candidate Pranab Mukherjee and said he was responsible for the economic mess in the country.
As finance minister of the country, Mukherjee was behind a host of problems, including price rise, a poor FDI scenario, rising inflation and negative growth of the industry, Sangma said.
Sangma, who is also being supported by the AIADMK, Biju Janata Dal and the Akali Dal, was on a daylong visit to the state capital to meet BJP legislators.
The former Lok Sabha speaker said he was confident of a victory in the July 19 presidential poll. He appealed to legislators and MPs of all parties to rise above political considerations and vote as per their conscience.
"I am sure this election would be a repeat of 1969 when VV Giri won on conscience vote," he told reporters.
No whip has issued in this election. Even if some parties have, it has no legal sanctity, he told the media.
Escorted by state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpayi, senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra and MP from Lucknow Lalji Tandon, Sangma said he was a democrat and contesting for the post was his birthright.
He was responding to a question on whether he was making the election for the highest office in the country a bitter political battle.
Asked whether he stood by his opposition to foreign-born leaders not holding constitutional posts, Sangma said: "Very much, I was against it, am still against it and will always oppose it."
He had opposed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's leadership in 1999, subsequently revised his view and has now gone back to his earlier position.