Second term for President Pranab? Mamata backs him in meeting with Sonia Gandhi
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Second term for President Pranab? Mamata backs him in meeting with Sonia Gandhi

After Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee becomes the second opposition chief minister to support a second term for President Pranab Mukherjee.

india Updated: May 17, 2017 10:30 IST
Saubhadra Chatterjee
Saubhadra Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sonia Gandhi,Mamata Banerjee,Nitish Kumar
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee leaves 10, Janpath, the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, after a meeting on Tuesday.(ANI Twitter)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is believed to have supported another term for President Pranab Mukherjee during her meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.

The Trinamool Congress chief is also open to the candidature of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, former bureaucrat Gopal Krishna Gandhi or former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, sources told HT.

“It was a very important meeting. We discussed the Presidential election as well as the current political situation. Factors like caste, political issues will be considered while deciding the candidate,” Banerjee said outside Sonia’s official residence at 10 Janpath.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi may call all Opposition parties for discussing a Presidential candidate in the next 7 to 10 days.

Congress sources maintain that if the government proposes Mukherjee’s name, the Opposition will lend their support. Banerjee, too, said that a consensus candidate would be “good for the country” but added, “The government should come forward to build a consensus.”

In her 45 minute-long meeting with the Congress president, Banerjee not only assured her party’s support but also indicated that she will talk to parties like AAP. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi joined the meeting mid-way.

Banerjee became the second chief minister from the Opposition camp, after Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, to support Mukherjee’s candidature for the Presidential poll in July.

Read more: 2017 presidential elections: Why the assembly tests matter for BJP

In the electoral college of 11 lakh votes, the Trinamool Congress with 64,000 votes is the third-largest after the BJP and the Congress in the election for the country’s top post.

The Trinamool Congress chief didn’t publicly reveal her choices even as she slammed the Modi government for “pursuing vendetta politics.”

“Some political vendetta is going on. Whatever is happening today is the same thing. Sometimes they (government) do with Akhilesh (Yadav), sometimes with (Odisha Chief Minister) Naveen Patnaik, sometimes with Laluji, Chidamabaram or (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal,” Banerjee quipped.

First Published: May 16, 2017 18:35 IST