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Sangma equates himself with Obama

Former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma, who is considered an underdog in the presidential race, today pinned his hopes on "big number of hidden votes".

india Updated: May 26, 2012 21:58 IST

Former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma, who is considered an underdog in the presidential race, today pinned his hopes on "big number of hidden votes" and equated himself to the "black man" Barack Obama making it to the White House.

"We have (the case of) Barack Obama...Nobody thought a black man would ever occupy White House. If a black man can become the President of America, why can't an Adivasi become the President of India," the NCP leader, whose party has refused to back him for the presidential race, said.

Interacting with the members of the Indian Women's Press Corp (IWPC) Sangma said he "hopes" that a consensus would evolve on his candidature as "neither UPA nor NDA has numbers... Besides there are a big number of hidden votes...you never know."

"Nobody sees who will vote for whom. It is a secret ballot. How can it be a question of whom one would vote," the NCP general secretary promptly replied when asked whether his daughter Agatha Sangma, whould vote for him.

He said his daughter, who is a minister in the UPA government, had started campaign for a tribal candidate for the Presidentship but stopped it as soon as he entered the fray with the support of two tall leaders -- chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Orissa -- Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik.

"My daughter is part of UPA, I am not. When I went to Chennai, P A Sangma was not a candidate...that time we were campaigning for a tribal candiate. She stopped the moment Jayalalithaa and Patnaik announced support to me....She will go by what UPA decides," 64-year-old Sangma, a tribal and a legislator from Meghalaya said.

He reiterated that he had sought appointments with political leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to press for a tribal candidate for the post of the President.