It would be difficult for Trinamool Congress to say no to Pranab Mukherjee in case Congress nominates him as the next President, although Mamata Banerjee has already expressed her choice of names.
Sources said Mamata Banerjee may not oppose Mukherjee, since he represents Bengal. The party chief will take the final call when she meets senior leaders after the Congress formally announces the name.
According to sources, a section of senior leaders believe that, since Mukherjee hails from Bengal, opposing his name would send the wrong signal to the people of the state.
“What can I say? The question doesn’t arise. The Congress will decide on a name, after which we’ll sit in an open discussion about it. Mamata Banerjee will take the final decision. Our party chief has already expressed her choice of names,” Sisir Adhikari, senior leader and MoS, rural development, said.
A section of the senior leaders and MPs believe that the party should support Mukherjee if his name comes up as presidential candidate. The name of the Congress’s presidential candidate is likely to be announced soon.
“It would be difficult for us to oppose Pranab Mukherjee if his name comes up. He is a politician from Bengal and represents Bengal in Parliament. Not supporting him may have a strong negative impact among the people of Bengal. We don’t want that,” a senior Trinamool Congress leader said.
Trinamool leaders also believe that opposing Mukherjee or refraining from voting would earn a bad name for the party nationally. Already, some leaders have discussed the issue with Mamata Banerjee and aired their opinions. The party is likely to think positively over Mukherjee’s name.
However, the Left parties would not extend support to Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, should he be picked as a nominee in the race for President, said veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan during a visit to West Midnapore on Sunday.
“Let the Congress high command decide on who they want as the President. Should Pranab Mukherjee be nominated as the presidential nominee, I can say for all the Left parties that we would not support him for the post. We are opposed to his economic policies and hence can’t accept him as a presidential candidate,” Bardhan told partymen on Sunday.
Though the Congress high command hasn’t yet named its candidate for President, with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi expected to take a final call on the nominee, speculation of Mukherjee being a prospective nominee in the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan has lately been rife in political circles.
Bardhan, who was in Midnapore on Sunday to attend a party event, conceded that the Left parties had until recently been smarting from a series of electoral setbacks and had largely failed to mobilise numbers for a robust campaign with a view to highlighting the alleged administrative excesses and ills of the present Trinamool Congress-led regime over the past one year of governance.
However, he said that the Left parties have since recovered enough political ground to mobilise cadres on the streets and mount a protracted movement against the state government over a spate of recent issues.
“We had so far been unable to hit the streets and protest the ways of the Trinamool-led government, but now we feel we are ready to launch a campaign. We had suffered a series of electoral setbacks and needed some time to recover lost ground. But we have since made a comeback and would soon take to the streets,” the veteran CPI leader said.
According to sources in the state Congress leadership, finance minister’s name is currently being considered for the President’s post and the UPA chairperson would likely announce the presidential nominee sometime next week.
However, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had previously been on record to say that Mukherjee does not feature among her list of favourites for the president’s post and went on name the likes of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former President APJ Abdul Kalam and former Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as her likely picks for the august chair.
Speaking at the party programme on Sunday, Bardhan made it clear that the Left parties won’t back the Jangipur MP for the president’s post.
However, he was largely evasive when quizzed on whether the Left parties would support former Lok Sabha Speaker and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader PA Sangma, should he contest the presidential polls.
Bardhan graced the party event, also featuring senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta and party state secretary Manjukumar Majumder to devise the way forward for the party in view of the evolving political scenario in the state and the Centre.