New Delhi: Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its decision to oppose UPA's presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, the Congress party on Friday sought widest possible support for the leader and hoped parties not supporting him would revisit their decision.

"Opposing for the sake of opposition is the basic mantra of the BJP... If somebody decides to have a contest for the sake of it... they could find an excuse to justify it -- BJP is doing just that," party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

The BJP on Thursday decided to back P.A. Sangma for the president's post. However, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is yet to clarify her stand on the presidential poll after former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, whom she proposed, declined to join the fray.

Tewari said that parties opposing the candidature of Mukherjee for the top constitutional post should reconsider their position. "Considering his (Pranab Mukherjee's) long years of public service and political contribution, those who are not supporting him should reconsider their position," Tewari said, adding that the Congress hoped "widest possible support across the spectrum" for the union finance minister.

Referring to the 2002 presidential election, Tewari said the Congress party had displayed magnanimity and decided to back candidature of National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) candidate A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

He said after UPA decided its presidential candidate, "outreach was made to the BJP at the highest level".

Tewari said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to BJP leadership and party president Sonia Gandi had also made an appeal for cross-party support to Mukherjee.

"In case they raise bogey of non-consultation, nothing much can be done," he said. Alluding to BJP allies, including Janata Dal-United and Shiv Sena, who have extended support to Mukherjee, Tewari said the BJP has not returned the generosity his party had shown in the 2002 presidential poll.

"We are grateful to all those who have supported the candidature (of Mukherjee). We hope others will also revisit their position so that there is the largest possible consensus (on Mukherjee's name for the president's post)," Tewari said.


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