AIADMK chief and UNPA leader Jayalalithaa on Tuesday demanded that the UPA should withdraw its Presidential nominee Pratibha Patil, against whom a slew of allegations had been levelled, or she herself should withdraw from the race in the interest of the nation.
"In independent India, this is the first time that such charges have been levelled against a Presidential candidate. It is distressing to see that the highest constitutional office in the country had been subjected to mudslinging," she told reporters in Chennai.
In order to restore and safeguard the dignity surrounding the President post, the UPA should withdraw her candidature or she herself should opt out of the race, the AIADMK leader said.
Jayalalithaa said Patil's candidature had been an "embarrassment" to the nation. "The nation has been embarrassed in the eyes of the world, because UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi wants a President who will be pliable."
On the BJP's demand for formulation of guidelines on Presidential candidate, she said the founding fathers had never expected that "a person with poor credentials involved in a number of allegations and messy financial dealings" will be elected to the President post.
So guidelines had to be framed to safeguard the highest office in the country, she said.
Asked if the eight-party non-Congress, non-BJP front, the UNPA, would abstain from voting in the Presidential elections, she said the combine's formal decision would be announced after TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu returned from the US.
She also ruled out supporting NDA backed independent candidate Bhairon Singh Shekawat. The UNPA had taken a collective decision not to support candidates backed by both UPA and NDA.
She also denied any leadership tussle in the fledgling UNPA. "No. Nothing of this sort," she said.