Guwahati: BJP-backed Presidential candidate P A Sangma today called upon Congress MLAs and MPs to vote for him without `fear`, saying there was no official whip barring them from doing so and cited the presence of secret ballot.
"Nobody has to be afraid. I am conveying this particular message to the Congress MLAs and MPs. You don`t have to be afraid," Sangma told reporters here this evening.
He said: "Constitution says that you can vote for anybody whom you want. Party cannot dictate you. Nobody can dictate you. It is your choice, your conscience."
Sangma, who arrived here this evening, met leaders of various political parties including the BJP, Asom Gana Parishad, Mizo National Front and United Democratic Party, which have extended support for him for the July 19 elections.
Sangma said the 2012 presidential polls would be on a par with the 1969 elections when V V Giri had won defeating official Congress nominee N Sanjeeva Reddy.
"1969 was the election of the conscience vote. 2012 election is also an election of conscience vote," he said.
When pointed out that his opponent and UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee has a clear edge over him in the electoral college, Sangma said the rules stipulating secret ballot would help him.
"You are calculating votes on the strength of the political parties, black or white. Its not the case because this is a secret ballot election. So you cannot go by black and white or the number of MLAs and MPs of particular parties," he said.
"There are people who cannot openly support me. But they are supporting me (secretly)," Sangma said.
He said it is for the first time in the history of independent India, the presidential polls have led to discussion and debate among the common people.