Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP), India's main opposition party, has welcomed Pranab Mukherjee as the
new head of state, distancing itself from its (defeated) presidential candidate
Purno Agitok Sangma after the latter moved to challenge the new president's
election in the courts. "We would like to
make it clear, if Sangma takes such a step, then it will be his personal
choice. As far as the BJP and NDA are concerned [. . .], we have welcomed the
election of the President of India," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said on
Since the start of the election process, it was clear that the BJP-Sangma
pact stood on shaky grounds or that at least the two sides had little in
common. The BJP is a ultranationalist Hindu party, known for its support of
extremist movements that engage in religiously and ethnically based violence
(for example, anti-Christian pogroms in Orissa). By contrast, Sangma is a
Catholic, from a tribal background, who left the Congress party in 1998 because
he was opposed to the election of Italian-born Sonia Gandhi to the presidency
of the party.
When looking for a candidate, the BJP saw Sangma as a way to attract
voters from traditionally unfavourable constituencies, namely Tribals and
minorities. For the defeated candidate, the alliance with the BJP meant another
go at a place in the sun.
Despite its latest loss, the BJP has time to recover and prepare for the
2014 parliamentary elections. For Sangma, the situation is a bit more difficult
since he is a politician without a party.
After leaving Congress in 1998, he founded the Nationalist Congress
Party (NCP), which he quit after it refused to back his candidacy.
The NCP itself under co-founder Sharad Pawar has renewed with Ms Gandhi
and is trying to return to the Congress.
Now, which party will want Sangma, especially since he whitewashed the
BJP of any responsibility for the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal, Orissa?