Edited by Mala Das | Updated: June 29, 2012 01:18 IST
Mr Mukherjee, after formally declaring his intent to contest the election as the candidate of the UPA candidate, said he seeks "the blessings of God and the cooperation of all."
In particular, he asked estranged UPA member Mamata Banerjee to change her mind and vote for him. Ms Banerjee has not been on speaking terms with the coalition she belongs to since earlier this month, when she rejected Mr Mukherjee for President and threw her weight behind nuclear scientist and former president APJ Abdul Kalam. He, however, refused to stand against Mr Mukherjee, despite the best efforts of not just Ms Banerjee, but the main opposition party, the BJP.
Mr Sangma was then endorsed by the BJP. However, its major allies, Nitish Kumar's JD (U) and the Shiv Sena, have said they will vote for Mr Mukherjee instead.
But in deference to political correctness and their allegiance to the BJP-led coalition, the NDA, no senior leader from Nitish Kumar's party was present for Mr Mukherjee's Kodak moment this morning.
Prominent among the attendees was Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has refuted reports that he is just baby steps away from formally joining the UPA, possibly as a replacement for Ms Banerjee, if she opts out, or is asked to leave the UPA.
Mr Sangma has about 30% of the votes, a little more if Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress decides to vote for him. He said today that he was surprised that the Congress did not agree to back him as a tribal candidate. He also said that the body language between Ms Banerjee and him, at a meeting a few days ago, should suggest that she is on his team.
Mr Sangma quit the party he co-founded, Sharad Pawar's NCP, to run for president. As a member of the UPA, his party said it could not support his decision to run against the coalition's candidate, Mr Mukherjee.
Mr Sangma was first picked as a contender for president by Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister of Odisha, and J Jayalalithaa, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
He has said this is a serious contest and not a symbolic one; but the math is in Mr Mukherjee's favour. The UPA has the support of not just Nitish Kumar and the Shiv Sena, but two Left parties, Mayawati, and smaller players like Lalu Pradad Yadav. As things stand, he crosses the 50% mark with relative comfort.
The election is on July 19. Results will be declared on July 22.
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