Cancel Pranab’s candidature, says Sangma; ISI says Mukherjee quit June 20 (Second Lead)

July 2nd, 2012 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Opposition-backed presidential candidate P.A. Sangma Monday sought the cancellation of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the presidential election, alleging that he was holding an office of profit as chairman of the Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

The ISI quickly denied the allegation, saying Mukherjee quit June 20, eight days before he filed his nomination as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate.

In a complaint to Rajya Sabha Secretary General V. K. Agnihotri, who is the returning officer for the presidential election, Sangma’s lawyer Satpal Jain demanded that Mukherjee’s candidature be canceled as he is still the ISI chairman.

But a senior official of the institute told IANS from Kolkata that Mukherjee had resigned June 20

“He had resigned on June 20. The confusion has been created because this was not updated on the institute’s website,” said the official.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, however, questioned if the institute had accepted the resignation.

“They should give out the date when they accepted the resignation. Only giving resignation means nothing,” Mahtab told IANS.

He also said that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is also the election agent of the former finance minister, has sought more time for the reply.

“They have sought time to give a reply. If all is well, why have they sought more time to give a reply,” Mahtab said.

Sangma is backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa and Odisha Chief Minister and BJD leader Navin Patnaik.

As Monday was the last day for scrutiny of the nomination, Bansal told reporters that Mukherjee will give a written reply to the returning officer by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The last date of withdrawal of candidature is July 4. The election is slated for July 19 and counting is on July 22.

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