Sangma, BJP up the ante against Pranab

New Delhi/Chandigarh: Upping the ante over Pranab Mukherjee's nomination as UPA Presidential candidate, rival PA Sangma today demanded a copy of the Returning Officer's detailed order rejecting his objection to the Congress leader's candidature.

As the opposition-backed candidate made the demand, BJP threatened to file an election petition, a day after it called as "fabricated" his letter of resignation from the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

In his letter to the Returning Officer, Sangma has demanded that the copy of the detailed order be handed over to him by 5 pm today, as more than 24 hours have gone by after passing the order rejecting his objections.

BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said "this is unprecedented."

He said BJP will decide on further course of action only after a copy of the detailed order is received.

PTI

Sangma, meanwhile, held a two-hour meeting at Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj's residence in Delhi to discuss further course of action on the matter.

Sangma's counsel and BJP's legal cell head Satya Pal Jain spoke of the option of moving an election petition.

"All options are open...election petition can be filed after the declaration of result...we will cross the bridge after receiving the copy of order on NDA's plea against Mukherjee," he told reporters in Chandigarh.

Accusing the UPA of "lowering the dignity" of the post of President, he said "election petition is the only remedy once the results are declared."

Home Minister P Chidambaram described as "scandalous" BJP's contention that Mukherjee's resignation letter to the ISI was forged, and said he must surely have taken note of this allegation levelled against him.

"It is a scandalous suggestion and I am sure Mr Pranab Mukherjee, the candidate, has taken note of this scandalous statement," Chidambaram told reporters in Delhi in reply to a question on BJP's charge against Mukherjee.

Jain said that at the time of filing of nomination for the presidential post, Mukherjee was holding an office of profit as chairman of the ISI.

Referring to the resignation letter written by Mukherjee to ISI President M G K Menon, he said "it is not validly acceptable."

PTI

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