Prez poll: Pranab`s fresh appeal to Mamata; Sangma optimistic

With three days left for the Presidential poll, UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday made a fresh appeal to Mamata Banerjee to support him.

Srinagar: With three days left for the Presidential poll, UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday made a fresh appeal to Mamata Banerjee to support him while his rival P A Sangma claimed to have the support of 18 political parties and some Congressmen.

"I appeal to her almost every day...That is for her to decide," Mukherjee told reporters in Srinagar when asked if he would appeal to Banerjee, chief of Trinamool Congress, an ally of UPA at the Centre, to vote for him.
Mamata is yet to take a decision on her party`s position on the Presidential poll to be held on July 19.

Mukherjee met the legislators of the ruling National Conference - Congress coalition, opposition PDP and three independent MLAs to drum up support for his Presidential bid.

The former Union Finance Minister said his meetings were part of thanksgiving to those political parties which have extended support to his candidature.
In Bhubaneswar, Sangma claimed that his prospect in Thursday`s Presidential election is "very good" and that he was optimistic of a repeat of 1969 when V V Giri had defeated the official candidate of Congress.

"Since there is no restriction, whip or any written direction in this election, I am hopeful of getting support of many MLAs and MPs. Therefore, my prospect in the elections is very good," Sangma said after meeting MLAs and MPs of the ruling BJD and opposition BJP.

The former Lok Sabha speaker claimed 18 political parties were already backing his candidature and said he was expecting support from some Congressmen too.

"Eighteen political parties have given commitment to support me. Some parties are likely to announce their decision in a day or two while others may not announce at all. We hope they will vote for us," he said.

On whether he expects support of Congress MPs and MLAs, Sangma said, "Naturally, I hope so."

"What you see is only black and white. Things are different because there can be no restriction on voters. This election is above party line. I am hopeful that MLAs and MPs will vote for me according to their conscience and not on party line," he said explaining how he hoped to win despite having support of only 38 per cent in the electoral college.

On Trinamool Congress, Sangma said, "Mamata Banerjee had already said her party would participate in the elections. She will make known whom to support in two to three days. I am hopeful of getting her party`s support."

Asked to elaborate on his calculation of a repeat of the 1969 presidential polls, Sangma said that the Election Commission of India had already issued a circular saying that anybody who puts restrictions, whip or written order to voters can be prosecuted under section 171 of the IPC.

Mukerjee drove to the residence of former state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed where he met the top leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party.

On Jammu and Kashmir, Mukherjee said he would like to definitely see that this beautiful state gets its "most rightful place, it is developed to the full potential."

"Of course, within the parameters of Constitutional functioning and Constitutional responsibility, this is my desire to see that the full developmental potential of the state is being exploited," he said.

Sayeed today said Mukherjee is a capable and competent man who will prove to be one of the country`s best Presidents.

"We had many many great Presidents, he will be one of the best we will have," Sayeed told reporters at his residence after meeting Mukherjee.

The electoral college for the Presidential poll comprises 4,896 electors, including 233 members of Rajya Sabha and 543 of Lok Sabha, besides 4,120 members of state assemblies, having a total of 10,98,882 votes.