West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is yet to decide whether Trinamool Congress would support PA Sangma in the Presidential election.
"They would decide in the party and would inform me over the next few days," Sangma told reporters after emerging from a meeting with Mamata in the state secretariat on Tuesday. The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes.
"Today I came to Kolkata to meet Mamata Banerjee and other senior leaders of Trinamool Congress. I have sought her party's support in the coming Presidential elections. I am grateful for the time that the chief minister has given to me. However, there has been no final decision. The matter would be discussed in the next few days following which the decision would be conveyed to me," Sangma said.
Virtually echoing Sangma, Trinamool Congress general secretary and railways minister Mukul Roy said that there is still time left before the Presidential elections. We will discuss the matter within the party and convey our decision to Sangma," Roy said.
Mamata was professing support for APJ Abdul Kalam for the past few weeks and has emphasised she was supporting her as an apolitical man of repute. But after Kalam withdrew from the race sensing unassailable support for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee, Sangma who emerged as Mukherjee's opponent has been seeking Mamata's support.
However, the Trinamool leader has been caught in a bind over the support to Sangma. If she supports him, she may be seen as supporting any candidate to spite Mukherjee. The former finance minister is the first Bengali to be the likely winner in the Presidential race, and Trinamool leaders suspect opposing him tooth and nail may not go down well with a majority of the electorate in Bengal.
Therefore, it may not be easy for Mamata to support Sangma. Many Trinamool leaders feel she may eventually decide to abstain from the election, as that would be a way of avoiding cross voting by the party's MLAs and MPs, many of whom are personally known to Mukherjee.