People taking interest in presidential poll: Sangma (Lead)

July 15th, 2012 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Bhubaneswar, July 15 (IANS) For the first time in the last three decades, people are taking keen interest in presidential election and it has become a topic of discussion even in villages, opposition candidate P.A. Sangma said in Odisha Sunday.

The former Lok Sabha speaker who was here on a day long visit in connection with the July 19 poll said similar interest among the common people were seen in 1969, when V.V.Giri defeated the Congress candidate.

“Before and after that people were not taking much interest,” Sangma said, addressing lawmakers of state’s ruling Biju Janata Dal here.

Describing the 2012 election as “historical” and “significant” as it has generated interest among common people, the tribal leader from the northeast said when Pranab Mukherjee became the candidate of Congress party predictions were made that it will be a token fight.

“The Congress became nervous only after Bharatiya Janata Party announced its support for me”, Sangma said, addressing legislators and leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the office of their state unit where he visited later.

People are now discussing about the election in their villages. The kinds of involvement common people are showing is unbelievable, he said. Describing himself as a “poor tribal” Sangma thanked people of the state for proposing his name for the country’s top post. “It was an honour to the tribals”, he added.

Chief whip of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Rabi Narayan Pani and deputy chief whip, Arun Sahu were among the senior leaders who welcomed Sangma, as soon as he arrived at the Biju Patnaik airport here.

Sangma went straight to the official residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from the airport. He later addressed the BJD lawmakers at BJD party headquarters in a simple function.

Patnaik announced his party’s support for Sangma in May and was also the first to sign as a proposer on his nomination papers.

Sangma later went to the office of the state unit of the BJP and met its legislators. In a simple function its leaders and workers gave him a rousing welcome.

United Progressive Alliance presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee had campaigned in the state July 11.

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