Ahead of the July 19 presidential elections, the Congress has stepped up efforts to placate Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to get her support for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
As a last-ditch effort, central leaders suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could call up Banerjee and seek support for Mukherjee. The party feels because the Trinamool leader shared an "excellent rapport' with the PM and it would be "difficult" for her to turn down his request.
But at the same time, Congress leaders pointed out that if she rejected the PM's appeal, it will end the alliance. "That will be a major embarrassment for us," a senior Congress functionary said. "But we are confident…she will fall in line."
As Mukherjee is scheduled to visit West Bengal for his poll campaign in the second week of July, the leaders hope that the call will break the ice and renew the possibility of the meeting between Banerjee and the former finance minister.
Though the Trinamool chief is yet to declare her stand on the presidential polls, her party may abstain from the voting feel Congress sources.
However, Trinamool leaders maintained that their party would not back opposition candidate PA Sangma as the move could antagonise the Muslims, which according to some estimate constitute 30% of the total population of West Bengal.
The fear of cross-voting has also gripped the Trinamool with MPs such as Dinesh Trivedi and Kabir Suman openly hailing Mukherjee's candidature.