Trinamool MP Kabir Suman, who announced on Wednesday he will vote for UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee even if that meant violating the party's diktat, could be one among several party legislators to do so.
"I will vote for Mukherjee. I think he is the best candidate. He called me and asked about my health. We discussed the presidential polls," Kabir Suman said.
However, Mukherjee's office said it was Suman who had made the call on Wednesday afternoon. Reportedly he wanted to know the "voting procedure" in the polls.
Party sources said more MPs were likely to take Suman's path.
"Our leader Mamata Banerjee has already announced it was a mistake to choose me for contesting the Lok Sabha poll in Jadavpur. This was an insult and a slap on my face," Suman added.
In response to Suman's statement, Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien tweeted that Mukherjee was trying to break his party by speaking to MPs individually.
On the other hand, MP Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced out of the railway ministry by Trinamool chief, called Mukherjee to wish him success after his candidature was announced.
"This is unethical. Mukherjee should have called Banerjee and not individual MPs of the Trinamool Congress. In presidential polls, parties talk to parties. Kabir Suman is a rebel MP and calling him for support is unacceptable," said Subrata Mukherjee, state panchayat minister.
A senior Trinamool leader said: "The reasons (for voting for Mukherjee) are two-fold. While on the one hand it could be Bengali sentiment and the urge to see a Bengali as the country's president for the first time, on the other hand there are some MPs who are peeved with the party chief."