Hyderabad: Seeking to broaden his support base in the electoral college, UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday appealed to political parties, including Trinamool Congress which are still undecided on the election for the President, to back his candidature.
“I am appealing to all those who have not yet decided to take decision in my favour, in favour of UPA,” Mukherjee told reporters here, after an interaction with the ruling Congress MPs, MLAs, MLCs in Andhra Pradesh.
He expressed gratitude to partners of UPA (Trinamool Congress is yet to announce its decision though it is part of the ruling coalition at the Centre), Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, which support UPA from outside, and parties opposed to UPA like CPI(M), Forward Block, JD (U) and Shiv Sena for supporting his candidature.
Opposition parties like Telugu Desam, TRS and YSR Congress of Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy are yet to announce their decision on whom to support in the presidential election.
Mukherjee, who launched his campaign in Chennai on Saturday by meeting MLAs, MPs of Congress and UPA allies like DMK, interacted with the Congress legislators here during a short visit to the Andhra Pradesh capital.
Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, incharge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana, Union ministers M M Pallam Raju and D Purandeswari were among those present on the occasion. City-based Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislators met Mukherjee at a five-star hotel after his meeting with the Congress leaders, sources said. MIM is a part of UPA.
On the comments of opposition-backed presidential nominee P A Sangma’s comments that a miracle may also happen to see him through, Mukherjee said, “I do not know. I do not believe in miracles. I do not know whether any miracle may happen or not.”
The 77-year-old former finance minister said he would like to tour as many state capitals as possible till 15 July. Meanwhile, a fire broke out in the Jubilee Hall, the venue of the meeting of Mukherjee with legislators, soon after the top leaders left. Several legislators, mediapersons and others, who were present inside the hall, came out as plumes of smoke billowed. Few fire tenders rushed to the spot and the blaze was quickly doused. Meanwhile, supporters for a separate Telangana held minor protests near the Jubilee Hall and also the hotel where Mukherjee put up. They alleged that Mukherjee, who headed a Cabinet sub-committee on the separate statehood issue, is opposed to the demand.