The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) yesterday described former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma as a candidate of communal forces. The party’s reaction came soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party decided to support Sangma for president. “It is unfortunate that Sangma has become a candidate of the communal forces... the UPA nominee would have a decisive triumph in the presidential poll,” NCP general secretary D P Tripathi said, referring to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who is the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s candidate. Tripathi said the BJP backed Sangma “so there is a contest just for the sake of contest,” adding the decision showed the “bankruptcy of the saffron party, which had to import its presidential candidate from the UPA.” The BJP has announced support to Sangma, who already has the backing of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithha and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik. Sangma, who is a founder member of the NCP, resigned from the party on Wednesday after failing to elicit support for his candidature. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena said its backing for Mukherjee did not mean the party is supporting the Congress. “Our support is not to the Congress. You must have read the statement of (Shiv Sena chief) Balasaheb (Thackeray) where he said that the president is the country’s highest constitutional post,” Shiv Sena’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray said. “Last time, we had supported Pratibha Tai (Pratibha Patil, and T N Seshan before that. This does not mean that we are leaving the NDA for the Congress,” he added. Thackeray further said that the Shiv Sena perceives Mukherjee as a good candidate for the president’s post. Bal Thackeray had written in support of Mukherjee in the party mouthpiece Saamna. The senior Thackeray, in a statement in Saamna, cited consensus as the reason for his party’s support to Mukherjee. “Let us show to the world that we are one,” he said, and took potshots at the various political parties for lowering the prestige of the office of India’s president.from gulf times.