New Delhi: Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, who is determined to contest the Presidential Election, on Wednesday resigned from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) after the party leadership built pressure on him to withdraw from the presidential race.
"I hereby tender my resignation from the primary membership of NCP with immediate effect. I place on record my deep gratitude to the president, other office bearers and rank and file of NCP for the courtesies extended to me by them at personal level while I was a member of the party," he wrote in his resignation letter.
In a statement, Sangma said he had "no option but to resign" from NCP "without any personal intent whatsoever of embarrassing the party and its leadership".
"I cannot ignore the feelings of the tribals that Raisina Hill should not continue to be a distant dream for them," he said, referring to the area in the capital where the Rashtrapati Bhavan is located.
"I have resigned accordingly, without any intent whatsoever of embarrassing the party and its leadership," he said.
Talking about the circumstances in which he had to quit, the 64-year-old leader said, "Disinclination of the NCP to endorse my candidature amounts to a denial of the aspirations of the tribals of the country."
Noting that his candidature had been projected by the Tribal Forum of India and he cannot "ignore the feeling of the Tribals that Raisina Hill (Rashtrapati Bhavan) should not continue to be a distant dream for them."
Sangma, a founder member of NCP, sent his resignation to party supremo Sharad Pawar. Meanwhile, Pawar has accepted Sangma’s resignation.
The tribal leader reportedly decided to quit NCP after receiving supports from BJP and a few other NDA constituents.
The tribal leader, who is adamant on contesting the Presidential poll against UPA candidate and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was reportedly suggested by the party high command to either withdraw from the presidential race or get ready to face action.
Sangma has been in the NCP firing line ever since he announced his decision to contest the Presidential poll without getting approval from the NCP chief. The tribal leader’s candidature has been backed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jaylalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik for the July 19 Presidential Election.
NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said his resignation would be accepted.
Resigned to a contest, the Congress said an electoral challenge was part of democracy.
Asked about the fate of Sangma`s daughter Agatha, a minister of state in the Manmohan Singh government, Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said the prime minister will take a decision.
Sangma`s daughter had earlier campaigned for her father until the NCP told her to back off.
Even after the support of AIADMK (3.3 percent) and Biju Janata Dal (2.8 percent), Sangma will get only 22.2 percent votes more if the NDA decided to vote for him minus the Janata Dal-United and Shiv Sena.
The Left is widely expected to root for Mukherjee.
With PTI inputs