In a complete U-turn and ending a month-long suspense, Trinamool Congress announced its decision to vote for UPA’s presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee ‘in the interest of coalition’
After proposing the name of A P J Abdul Kalam and two others a month ago creating a near crisis for the UPA government last month, Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday disclosed the party’s decision saying it had no other option and that it was not to support any individual.
The decision of the party, the second largest constituent in the UPA with 19 MPs in Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha, comes apparently under pressure from within the party to back Mr. Mukherjee, who would be the first Bengali to become a President, and not to ignore local sentiments.
“We have taken the decision with pain and not from our heart. We have taken the decision without any provocation or financial deal,” Ms. Banerjee told the media after a meeting of party leaders.
She made a bare reference to Bengali origins of the UPA candidate saying “Pranabda is from Bengal but we have taken the decision due to our commitment to the people”.
The Trinamool decision was immediately welcomed by the Congress party in Delhi and by Mr. Mukherjee’s son Abhijit, an MLA in West Bengal.
With Trinamool’s decision, Mr. Mukherjee has the support of nearly 7 lakh vote value in an electoral college of nearly 11 lakh. Apart from UPA partners, he also has the support of CPI(M) and Forward Bloc and BJP allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena.