Ahmedabad: BJP-supported presidential candidate P A Sangma on Friday said that Congress will not have a cake walk in the election to the top constitutional post of the country.

"Congress will not have a cakewalk in the Presidential elections," Sangma, who is in the city to campaign for the July 19 presidential election, told reporters here.

"India should have a President, who is not blind, dumb and deaf. India should have a thinking and a functional President," Sangma said when he was asked about his views on the top post.     He lashed out at UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee for rejecting the suggestion for a debate between the two.

Sangma had virtually dared Mukherjee for a debate ahead of the poll, saying democracy needs debate. He said that he was ready for a debate, but the Congress rejected the idea. "Pranab Mukherjee said that what is there to debate for the post of President, as he has to follow the policy decision taken by the council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister. What he meant is that President's is a rubber stamp post," Sangma remarked.

"His (Mukherjee's) statement suggests that if he is elected, he would follow the letter of the Constitution. But I would follow the spirit of the Constitution," he said.

"If I am elected, I will defend and protect the Constitution of India, integrity and sovereignty of India. Today problems like Naxalism and Maoism are related to tribals. If a tribal is made the President of India, he can help solve the problems," he added.

Supported by BJP, BJD, AIADMK and other small parties, Sangma was on a one-day visit to the state to seek support for his candidature.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who shared the stage with Sangma at a function here, described him as a "spotless leader" and a "great Speaker of the Lok Sabha".

Modi said that a 'chamatkar' (miracle) is still possible and Sangma can occupy the top post of the country.

Playing the tribal card, Sangma appealed to all the tribal MPs and MLAs in the country along with SC, ST, OBC and minority-elected representatives to support his candidature cutting across the party-lines.

He came down heavily on Meghalaya Congress chief minister Mukul Sangma, who had raised doubts about his being a Garo tribal. "Mukul Sangma himself is not a Sangma. He should not speak about tribals," he said.

Earlier, Sangma visited Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram.

Sangma, a nine-time member of the Parliament from Tura constituency in Meghalaya, said that he was dedicated to fulfill Mahatma's dream of poverty-free India.

"I started my presidential campaign from Tura with an all-religion prayer meeting and blessings of my people, who have elected me nine times as an MP and two times as an MLA. From there, I have come to Ahmedabad to seek blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, who has thoroughly inspired me," Sangma said.

The Presidential nominee also described, in the Ashram's visitor book that "Gandhiji's tool of peace and non-violence is a solution to complex problems that the country and the world are facing today."

Sangma, who was accompanied by his son, later went to Gandhinagar and addressed a meeting of BJP MPs and MLAs to seek their support for his presidential candidature.

Sangma will be meeting the Chief Election Commissioner on Saturday, along with some BJP leaders, to complain against the Returning Officer's order rejecting his demand for disqualifying Mukherjee's candidature on the ground that the latter held an Office of Profit.

A delegation comprising Sangma and some BJP leaders will meet CEC V S Sampath on Saturday to file a complaint with him against the RO and the order issued by him, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, who accompanied Sangma, said.

(Agencies)

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