New Delhi: Sensing NDA backing for his candidature for Presidentship, founder member of NCP PA Sangma on Wednesday quit the party which was opposed to his determination to contest against UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee and had warned him of disciplinary action.
The 64-year-old former Lok Sabha Speaker, whose candidature for Presidentship has divided NDA, resigned citing the “disinclination” of his party to “endorse” his nomination for the top post.
Sending his resignation letter to party chief Sharad Pawar which was immediately accepted, Sangma said he had received “promises of support from senior leaders of non-Congress parties, including those in the NDA” after backing from AIADMK and BJD.
Significantly, he sent the resignation letter soon after Subramanian Swamy, whose Janata Party a constituent of NDA, met him apparently to pledge support on behalf of the BJP-led coalition.
His resignation could have an impact on continuance of his daughter Agatha, Minister of State for Rural Development, in the government as NCP was unhappy over the move and suggested that he had gone back on his promise.
The NCP, a constituent of UPA, had already warned of disciplinary action against him if went ahead to contest the poll against Mukherjee.
Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said his party would give no advice to NCP on what to do with Agatha, who has earlier earned the ire of her party for campaigning for her father.
Sangma quit NCP at a time when the NDA is divided over supporting him as the Presidential candidate. While BJP is keen to support Sangma, its ally Shiv Sena has openly refused to back him and favoured Mukherjee.
JD-U, another key NDA constituent, also has reservations to supporting Sangma.
“I hereby tender my resignation from the primary membership of NCP with immediate effect. I place on record my deep gratitude to the President, other office bearers and rank and file of NCP for the courtesies extended to me by them at personal level while I was a member of the party,” Sangma wrote in his resignation letter.
In a statement later, he said he had “no option but to resign” from NCP “without any personal intent whatsoever of embarrassing the party and its leadership”.
Talking about the circumstances in which he had to quit, the 64-year-old leader said, “disinclination of the NCP to endorse my candidature amounts to a denial of the aspirations of the tribals of the country.”
He noted that his candidature had been projected by the Tribal Forum of India and he cannot “ignore the feeling of the tribals that Raisina Hill (Rashtrapati Bhavan) should not continue to be a distant dream for them.”
Pointing out that that the NCP, of which he was a founder member, had “not found it possible to endorse” his candidature, Sangma said, “I believe that I have also worked hard for building up the base of the party in several parts of India.
“Indeed, the national status of the party has been significantly due to the mass support from among the tribals who constitute one-hundred million of our population and among whom I have ceaselessly worked.”
He pointed out that Chief Ministers of Odisha Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa have “publicly extended support to my candidature” and said that he had also “received promises of support from senior leaders of non-Congress parties including those in the NDA.”