New Delhi:  Expressing gratitude to BJP for supporting his Presidential bid, P A Sangma today appealed to NDA allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena, which are opposed to his candidature, as well as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to back him in the July 19 poll.

Soon after BJP announced its support for him, the 64-year-old former Lok Sabha Speaker said his candidature was sponsored by two powerful Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu) and Naveen Patnaik (Odisha).

He said he had resigned from NCP as well as a member of the Meghalaya Assembly and asserted that that he was very much in the race.

"I am not a candidate of any single party. My name has been sponsored by two powerful chief ministers of the country. I am grateful to both these leaders. I am very happy that BJP has also taken a stand to support my candidature.

"Not only BJP but other allies like Akali Dal, JMM and other smaller parties have assured their support. They have told me that they will stand by the decision of NDA," he told reporters here.

With JD(U) and Shiv Sena having taken a different stand from that of NDA, he appealed to both the parties to extend support to him.

Asked whether Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress would support him, Sangma expressed the hope that the party will stand behind him as its first choice A P J Abdul Kalam has decided not to contest.

"I had spoken to her earlier. She had asked me to support Kalam then. But she told me that if Kalam does not contest, then she will support me. Now that Kalam is not in the race, I hope that Mamata will support me. I am very hopeful that Mamata will be with me," he said.

On whether his daughter Agatha Sangma, a Minister of State in the UPA government, will vote for him, he said she is a mature person who can take decisions on her own.

Sangma said he would tour the entire country to personally request all parties both in NDA and UPA to support his candidature.

Asked about the vote share, he said Article 55 of the Constitution says that the election of the President of India would be conducted through secret ballot.

"It is the conscience of the nation which will speak, not the conscience of the electorate," he said.

Jharkhand BJP appeal allies to vote for Sangma

The Jharkhand unit of the BJP on Thursday appealed to all its ruling allies in the Arjun Munda-led state government to support former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma in the presidential elections.

"We appeal to all our constituents JMM, Ajsu party and Janata Dal (U) to vote for NDA candidate," BJP's state unit spokesman Pradip Sinha said here.

Sinha's appeal comes in the wake of UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee calling up Ajsu party chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto on Wednesday to seek support for him in the presidential elections.

Earlier in the day, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said her party would support P A Sangma for presidential poll.

(Agencies)

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