The race to Rashtrapati Bhavan got a new twist on Friday, with a section of tribal leaders, cutting across political spectrum, deciding to back former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A Sangma.
Led by former Congress minister Arvind Netam, a prominent tribal leader from Bastar, the leaders dismissed Ajit Jogi as a “disputed tribal leader” whose tribal status is yet to be adjudicated by the court.
Another Congress tribal leader from Arunachal Pradesh Kiran Rijiju said Jogi cannot denigrate Sangma chosen by the Tribal Forum of India after considerations among tribal MPs, MLAs and other leaders. Netam, convener of the forum, said they are making efforts to create a consensus among various political parties for Sangma, but he would file nomination even if the consensus eludes.
On the NCP disowning Sangma despite him being its general secretary, Netam said he was not an NCP candidate but a candidate of the tribal community.
Netam said electing a tribal to the Rashtrapati Bhawan alone can remedy the way the tribal voice has been marginalised for long. He claimed that besides AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, several smaller parties have started giving support to Sangma.Courtesy:DNA