Is Kalam choice Mamata's bid to woo NDA? | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Is Kalam choice Mamata's bid to woo NDA?

kolkata Updated: Jun 15, 2012 02:47 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's apparently all-or-nothing move on the presidential candidate - risking stay in the Congress-led UPA - are well thought out, keeping in mind the next Lok Sabha polls, sources close to her said on Thursday.

Forging a strong alternative alliance of regional parties in New Delhi and getting the elusive financial package for West Bengal are motives guiding the Trinamool Congress chief's decisions at the moment, feel a section of leaders in her party.

Playing ball with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and sending subtle hints to the BJP-led NDA by naming APJ Abdul Kalam - whom the BJP may back - as one of their choices for president, Banerjee remained belligerent.

"I am not scared. We do not want to leave. But if UPA compels us to go what can we do? If they can talk to Left, we can talk to others," she said.

If Mulayam wavers, Banerjee's high-risk game - where she is seen to have antagonised Congress president Sonia Gandhi - could boomerang, but Trinamool leaders are not worried.

"We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Our party must be ready for the Lok Sabha elections (due in May 2014) and a more important role in Delhi," said a Trinamool MP who did not want to be named.

"Mamata Banerjee standing with Mulayam Singh Yadav and taking on the largest party in the country (Congress) is achievement enough."

Another Trinamool leader said, "Trinamool will have a decisive say after the Lok Sabha elections. In case the NDA turns out to be the largest coalition, there will be a channel open with them."

Trinamool leaders expect many regional parties to join the "Mamata-Mulayam" juggernaut.

Banerjee tripping the Congress top choice for president, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, comes after a year-long unsuccessful wrangling for financial aid to Bengal.

Banerjee recently wrote in her party organ that she had lost hope of getting the crucial financial bailout package from the finance minister.