New Delhi: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar Saturday cautioned party leader PA Sangma, also in the fray as presidential candidate, and said he was confident Sangma will respect the party`s decision on the top constitutional post.
"Let me make it very clear that Mr. Sangma does not enjoy support of the NCP. We wish that he does not contest. If he does, I cannot say anything now, he is a senior leader, but I don`t think he should defy the party`s direction or the line of thinking," NCP leader Praful Patel told a news channel.
Sangma had Friday said he would contest the presidential election and had got support from many political parties, and refused to withdraw his candidature even if NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked him to.
The party will meet on this matter next Thursday.
A partner in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the NCP said that it "unconditionally" supported Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the post of president.
Sangma, who could be expelled from his party if he goes ahead against Mukherjee, has received support from the Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK. He is also eyeing support from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Later, NCP chief Sharad Pawar expressed hope that Sangma will toe the party line.
"He (Sangma) is a senior leader of the party, he has been the Lok Sabha speaker. I am sure if the party takes any decision, he will respect that," Pawar told reporters. "We will convince him to withdraw," added Pawar.
NCP general secretary DP Tripathi also said Sangma will go by the party line.
"Sangma said he will do what the party will tell him to do," Tripathi told a TV channel.