Divided BJP discusses option of backing Sangma

June 17th, 2012 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s core committee Saturday weighed the options of backing P. Sangma for the post of president, even as a section within the party and its NDA allies felt they should not field a candidate against Pranab Mukherjee.

In the nearly three-hour-long meeting, Sangma’s name was raised by L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj, sources said.

The leaders also talked to Sangma on phone.

The former Lok Sabha speaker’s name was pitched by AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik. The BJP is considering backing Sangma as it weighs the possibilities of striking an alliance with these two parties later.

However, key National Democratic Alliance allies — the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — are not in favour of pitching a candidate against Mukherjee.

SAD leader Naresh Gujral also met JD-U chief Sharad Yadav this morning.

A BJP leader told IANS that a section of leaders within BJP were also of view that a candidate should not be fielded against Mukherjee, as he is a veteran leader. He however did not name those leaders.

Another section of leaders meanwhile feels that if they don’t field a candidate in this election, it may give signals of the opposition being weak, at a time when they have presented themselves as an alternate to Congress-led government.

Sunday’s NDA meeting is expected to discuss Sangma, while JD-U and SAD are to bat for not fielding a candidate against Mukherjee.

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