New Delhi, May 4 : As the race for Raisina Hill heats up, former Lok Sabha Speaker P. A. Sangma on Friday made a fresh demand that the next president of India should be from the Scheduled Tribe (ST).
Sangma informed that tribal leaders from all over India would be meeting on May 9 to put forward their demands in this regard.
“As far as this issue is concerned, on the 9th of this month, the tribal leaders from all over India will meet in New Delhi and place our demand that the next president should be from the ‘scheduled tribe’. In the 60 years of Indian republic, eminent people from all communities, from all religions have become president of India,” said Sangma.
“Tribals have more than 100 million population in this country, more than 700 recognized scheduled tribes. So, this chance should also go to tribals,” he added.
Responding to a question whether he was also in the fray for the president’s post, Sangma said: “No, I am not the candidate. We are just trying to meet the leaders of different political parties to agree on principle that yes tribal should be their president. After this agreement in principle, then we will think about candidate.”
“We have just started discussion among ourselves, among the tribals. And today also, we are going to meet and before we meet on the 9th we will certainly meet the leaders of all political parties including my president Sharad Pawar,” he added, when asked whether he had taken Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar into confidence on this issue.
Sangma, a Catholic and a tribal leader from the northeast, currently represents the Tura (ST) constituency in the West Garo Hills District in the eighth Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
He was also a co-founder of the NCP and remained a member of the Lok Sabha for eight terms.
There have been certain rumours that the Congress has been trying to reach out to ally partners to have a consensus on Vice President Hamid Ansari or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the prestigious post.
According to certain media reports, Mukherjee appears to be emerging as a front-runner in the race for the president’s post within his party and outside with allies and some others backing him.
Current incumbent Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s term ends on July 25 this year. She was sworn-in as the 12th president of India on July 25, 2007.
The president is the constitutional head of the country and also the supreme commander of the armed forces. (ANI)