Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik today reiterated his party's support to former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma even as former president A P J Abdul Kalam expressed his unwillingness to contest the presidential poll.
"About Sri Sangma, my stand and the BJD's stand remained same as earlier. I had made it clear a day before. We maintained the same view as expressed about a month ago," Patnaik told reporters replying a question on the presidential polls.
Stating that the BJD was the first to come out in support of P A Sangma, the Chief Minister said that the former Lok Sabha Speaker is a distinguished tribal leader, a Christian and also hailed from North Eastern region of the country.
"Sangmaji is most appropriate and right candidate for the country's highest post, the Rashtrapati," Patnaik said claiming that his party's stand continue to remain same even after a month. Patnaik had announced name of Sangma on May 17.
Justifying his stand to back Sangma, the BJD supremo said "Odisha also has vast tribal population while Sangmaji is a renowned tribal leader."