Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has accused United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee of buying support of parties by doling out large sums of money to selective states during his tenure as finance minister.
"Pranab Mukherjee as finance minister of India had doled out huge sum of money... lakhs of crores... to certain states like Bihar, Bengal and UP," Patnaik, chief of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), told reporters Sunday night after returning from New Delhi.
"Could it be that this money is going because he wants certain parties...to support his candidature as Rastrapati (president) of India?" Patnaik, who returned after a four-day trip, asked.
He said the money had been sanctioned in favour of states ruled by Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (Uttar Pradesh), Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (Bihar) and Mamata Benerjee's Trinamool Congress (West Bengal).
"This is not private money but people's money, your money. Why is so much money being given by the central government when the presidential elections are going on?"
Patnaik was the first to announce the name of former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma in May for country's top post against former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. He was also the first to sign as a proposer on Sangma's nomination papers.
Sangma is also being backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the AIADMK.
The presidential election is on July 19.