Amid the chill in ties with the Congress over the presidential polls, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked her party leaders at a closed-door meeting to be prepared for any eventuality including exit from the UPA government.
With 19 Lok Sabha MPs, Trinamool is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UPA. All of them assured the West Bengal chief minister that they were ready to resign under her command.
Party MP Dinesh Trivedi, who was removed as the railway minister after he proposed an increase in passenger fares in the budget, also attended the 90-minute meeting at Town Hall held amid murmurs of friction in the party over the CM’s brinkmanship.
“We don’t want to destabilise the UPA government. The government needs our support. However, it will take us a second to resign. We will not hesitate if we get indications that they (Congress) do not want us.” Sudip Bandyopadhyay, the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha, said after the meeting.
“We are firmly behind our leader and think APJ Abdul Kalam is the best candidate. But we have learnt he is not keen on the race. However, there are some days left and we will request him to reconsider his decision,” he added.
While Bandyopadhyay addressed the media, the CM drove away without making any comment, but a new post appeared on her Facebook account holding out an emotional message for Kalam.
He did not clarify the party’s stand over support to PA Sangma against the Congress choice for president, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Bandyopadhyay also termed the Congress a “non-entity” in Bengal.
Later, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya hit back, saying, “Expect more such drama in future.”