Patna: The BJP on Friday defended its decision to contest the presidential polls in which it has endorsed the former lok sabha speaker P.A. Sangma's candidature against the UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee and said that the election for the top post was an integral part of democracy.

"It (contest on the prez poll) is not only good for democracy, but also an integral part of democracy," the BJP national spokesman Ravishankar Prasad told reporters here.

Barring the election of the former president Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy in 1977, all presidential polls have been contested; he said and justified the BJP's decision to endorse Sangma's candidature against Mukherjee in the ensuing elections for the top constitutional post of the country.

Prasad said that it was not that the BJP was not in favour of consensus in the presidential polls, but the Congress-led UPA government did not take initiative to evolve a consensus with the opposition on this issue.

He said that his party chose to contest the presidential polls against the UPA nominee, who also happened to be the finance minister.

This was to protest Mukherjee's  mishandling of economic issues that caused price rise and inflation and his refusal to make public the names of those people having stashed away black money abroad and failure to take steps to bring back the wealth lying in foreign banks.

In an apparent attempt to restore unanimity in the NDA on supporting Sangma's candidature in the presidential polls, the senior BJP leader urged Shiv Sena and the JD(U) to review their decision to support Mukherjee's candidature.

The JD(U) and Shiv Sena have established their identity as non-Congress parties and, therefore, they should review their decision to support the UPA nominee in the presidential polls and rally behind Sangma's candidature, he said.


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