Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday signed on the nomination paper as a proposer for the candidature of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma in the coming Presidential election.

"Mr Patnaik was the first to sign on the nomination paper of P A Sangma as a proposer. I had come here to secure signatures of BJD MLAs, MPs and ministers before filing of the nomination papers by Mr Sangma," said Conrad Sangma, son of P A Sangma.

Besides Patnaik, about 100 members including MLAs, MPs and ministers of Odisha signed on the paper, Conrad who is also the leader of opposition in Meghalaya, told reporters.

While 50 members signed as proposer for P A Sangma, 50 others signed as seconder, he said. Thanking Naveen Patnaik and the BJD, he said the Odisha chief minister was the first person to announce his father's name as a presidential candidate and other parties rallied behind him later.

"It clearly shows his love for the tribal people and the Christian people," Conrad said.

Patnaik, on his part, said Conrad had met members of the 'Biju Parivar' (MLAs, MPs and Ministers). "Since Sangma belonged to tribal community and minority, he should get elected to the highest post of the country," Patnaik said.

Earlier, Patnaik hosted a lunch at Naveen Niwas where over 100 MLAs, MPs and ministers joined. BJD has 108 MLAs and 21 MPs (14 LS and 7 RS). "Except two MLAs and one MP who had been suspended from the party and three others dropped from the ministry, all others attended the programme," BJD vice-president Damodar Rout said.

(Agencies)

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