New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday skirted a question on her party supporting the candidature of former lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma for the presidency.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader's name has been put forward by Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Tamil Nadu counterpart J. Jayalalithaa. Responding to the question by reporters, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said she had been reading about this in newspapers and hearing from reporters and had no personal knowledge about it.

"I'm reading it in newspapers and hearing about it from you," Mayawati said. She said her party would support only that candidate who, in its assessment, would be suitable for the Bahujan Samaj movement. Mayawati said as of now, the situation is far from clear for her party to make public its stand. She said once the situation crystallised, she would unveil the party's stand.

Patnaik and Jayalalithaa on Thursday backed the former lok Sabha Speaker for the presidency, giving a new twist to an election in which the Congress and the BJP have not revealed their cards.

Sangma's pitch for a tribal candidate found support first from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Patnaik and the AIADMK's Jayalalithaa, in a move which could see more regional leaders join hands with the two. Sangma is, however, yet to get the support of his own party. The Congress did not react Thursday to the move by the BJD and the AIADMK while the BJP said it wanted to see the NCP's reaction. "We will support Sangma.

He is the most appropriate candidate for the post," Patnaik said in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Jayalalithaa too issued a statement in Chennai backing Sangma.

Sangma had quit the Congress in 1999 after calling party president Sonia Gandhi a "foreigner".President Pratibha Patil's five-year term ends in July and the presidential election is to be held to elect her successor.


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