Guwahati, July 12 (IANS) A key tribal organisation Thursday slammed NDA presidential candidate P.A. Sangma for proclaiming himself a representative of the community and accused him of playing the adivasi card for his personal ambitions.
Just a week ahead of the July 19 presidential elections, the Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP) came down heavily on Sangama, saying he did not try to build consensus, according to its chief advisor Jebra Ram Muchahary.
The ICITP is an apex body of tribals of India established in 1987 and presently working with more than 310 other groups from across the country.
"With serious concern ICITP would like to express that Adivasis of India has nothing to say on political parties who have shown their interest and support to Mr. P.A. Sangma on his own personal merits or on political interest. But we do strongly reject his self-proclamation as representative of adivasis of this country," said Muchahary.
The statement was also signed by Dr. Cecil Khakha, Secretary General of ICITP.
"Mr. Sangma neither consulted the adivasis or adivasi organisations nor approached by any adivasi organization prior to his sudden self-forced appearance for the whole gimmick to play the tribal card for his own personal ambition rather than becoming a consensus adivasi candidate for presidential election race," it clarified.
"We carried out an appeal campaign to all the national political parties including Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party...and other regional parties to consider sponsoring R.S. Mooshahary as the consensus candidate for the 13th presidential election of the country," said the statement.
"The ICITP after series of consultation with its 310 member organisations all over the country unanimously agreed to consider R.S. Mooshahary to represent the adivasis of India as the consensus candidate and subsequently appealed all the political parties to consider his candidature," Muchahary said.
A distinguished IPS officer, R.S. Mooshahary is at present the Governor of Meghalaya. The ICITP had recognized four persons of the country as 'Adivasi Ratna'-Dr. Bishop Nirmal Minz (Jharkhand), Irom Sharmila (Manipur), S.P. Wetsah (Nagaland) and RS Mooshahary (Assam).
Justifying the candidature of Mooshahry for the Presidential polls, the ICITP said, "He (Mooshahary enjoys excellent reputation and impeccable integrity who is non-controversial with acceptability across the political spectrum.