Playing the tribal card, former Lok Sabha speaker and NDA presidential candidate PA Sangma on Saturday appealed to politicians in the mostly Congress-ruled northeastern states – a large share of who are tribals – to support his candidature "without any doubt or fear".
"I belong to the northeast and I am a tribal candidate from the northeast. The presidential election is above party politics and no party can officially enforce any whip. So, I appeal to all the members of electoral colleges in all the states to vote for me without any doubt or fear," Sangma said while addressing a press conference at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport near Guwahati.
He said he would begin his campaign for the presidential polls from Tura on Sunday.
Sangma, who arrived from New Delhi on Saturday, left for Tura straight from the airport after the press conference.
Sangma was also given a red carpet welcome by several organizations and people from Meghalaya and other states of the region at the airport.
He slammed media reports about apprehensions and calculations of votes over the presidential elections and said, "It's very unconstitutional to count the party wise vote values regarding the presidential election. The election for the president's post is above party politics and that is why there is no party symbol used. The election is also conducted very confidentially through secret ballots."
The veteran politician, however, expressed his confidence about winning the presidential elections.
"I have contested parliamentary elections nine times and legislative assembly elections twice and I won all of them. I never lost elections in my life and I am going to win this presidential election too," he said.
"I am very happy to tell you that I have received lots of support from the northeastern states. I thank the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) of Assam, United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State Peoples' Democratic Party of Meghalaya, Mizo National Front (MNF) of Mizoram and many more parties who have decided to support me," he said.