Presidential candidate PA Sangma has stated that he has been sponsored by Tribal Council which has 5% votes in the Electoral College for the choice of Presidency. He said that he wanted to correct the mistakes that were committed against the tribal community, because of which he has decided to contest for the polls.
“It is a question of north east’s pride and not a question of party affiliations. Tribals have not been given their due…I appeal to the consience of the nation. We have given our land, our forest, our natural resources…Please recognize us,” said Sangma.
Sangma feels that the historic mistakes made by the country towards the tribal community must be atoned for. Confident of victory, Sangma said that his victory will issue a “big message” to over 100 millions tribals of India. Sangma even stated that his victory will help redress issues related to the tribal community, which will go a long way in casting a solution for issues like Naxalism and insurgency.
“Yes, of course, I am confident. I have never lost”. He said that he has contested nine times in Lok Sabha polls and five times in Assembly elections. “I know the art of election…. I am not undermining anybody,” he said.
The former Lok Sabha speaker even proceed to cite the need for a debate, asserting that democracies and debates go hand in hand. According to Sangma debate plays a crucial role in democracies. He cited the need for a debate at a time when the national economy is sinking, coupled with the most notorious scams.
“Who is responsible for all this corruption…It has to be a candidate to candidate debate,” said Sangma, reiterating that India being a democracy, it is the people who have a right to choose. “Democracy means debate. I am asking for debate,” said Sangma to TV channels.
When asked if he intended to have the debate with Pranab Mukherjee, Sangma said debates are a practice in democracies. The former Lok Sabha speaker has sought an appointment with Trinamool Congress Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Chief Mamata Banerjee and Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray, stating that he will reach out to everyone before the votes were cast.
“The election will be by a secret ballot. Secret ballot means conscience vote. I depend on conscience vote and I believe in conscience vote,” said Sangma stating that the current Presidential election has been a serious matter, which is not a smooth issue as projected by the Congress. Sangma pointed out to the “split” existing in all political parties over the choice of Presidential candidate.
“UPA candidate is also not getting the undivided support of the ruling alliance as Mamata, whose party in a constituent of UPA, is not supporting Mukherjee as yet,” said Sangma, adding that he has been keeping in touch with Banerjee and is “very hopeful of her support”. “I am going to meet her in next few days,” he added and said he will make an appeal to Congress MPs, MLAs who are from the tribal community.
On his opponent, Pranab Mukherjee, Sangma said he has been not only a “great friend” but also a “guru for whom he has lot of respect”. However, he alleged that the veteran has not paid much attention to West Bengal. “One section of people in Bengal are asking what Pranabda has done for Bengal,” he said.
When asked if he will return to NCP, Sangma said, “I will not lose this election…where is the question of going here and there arise?”
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