Congress tribal leaders led by former Chhatisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi today opposed the candidature of P A Sangma for presidential election, saying the NCP leader is "playing into the hands of communal forces".
Asked who are these communal forces, the former Chhatisgarh Chief Minister told reporters, "BJP and its allies are representing communal forces."
Sangma has sought support from various political parties for his Presidential bid.
"One should not declare himself as a presidential candidate. It is such a high office. It has never been demanded by any individual. Country chooses...Electoral colleges decide it. But Sangma has claimed it as tribal leader which is wrong," Congress tribal leader said.
Asked whether he is against the tribal candidate, he said, "We are not against any candidate. UPA has not decided on it as discussions are going on." He further said, "Either there should be consensus on deciding the candidature or whoever has majority will decide."
Asked about his stand on supporting a tribal candidate for presidency, Jogi said the party has not decided yet. "If party decides for a tribal candidate we will definitely support it."
To question whether he himself would like to be a presidential candidate as a tribal leader, Jogi said, "No way." Asked whether Congress has decided to oppose Sangma, he said, "Party has not decided yet. It is our view."
Recalling earlier presidential elections, Jogi said, "Once a tribal leader from Meghalaya GG Swell was the candidate and then Sangma had opposed him. Now he is seeking support in the name of tribal."
Jharkhand Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Balmuchu said, "Sangma belongs to NCP and his party is also not supporting him on the issue."
Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent Pala, Manipur MP Rishang Keising and Arunachal MP Ninong Erring are among other tribal leaders who were present on the occasion.