Bhubaneswar, May 21 - Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik today stepped up the campaign for former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma's candidature for Presidency describing him as a distinguished tribal leader.
"He is a tribal leader, a distinguished tribal leader and as I suggested it and my party supports it that a tribal leader for the first time in the history of our Republic be the seniormost person of India ... that a tribal leader become Rashtrapati", Patnaik said replying a question on the prospects of Sangma becoming President.
Stating that a quarter of Odisha's population was tribal and their population huge in the country, Patnaik said his party had first named Sangma for the post which within some hours also got support of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.
"Since then as you can see the hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Jayalalithaaji has been speaking to several senior leaders of political parties," Patnaik said.
He said his late father Biju Patnaik, who was Lok Sabha MP in 1997, had close attachment with Sangma who was the Speaker at that time.
Sangma's daughter Agatha, who is an union minister had visited Bhubaneswar and held discussions with Patnaik.
"The Chief Minister is likely to meet Sangma in Delhi," sources said. PTI