Mamata may go with UPA on Ansari; decision today

Notwithstanding her past reservations for Hamid Ansari,Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is said to be warming up to the idea of supporting his candidature

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: February 5, 2014 6:25 pm

Notwithstanding her past reservations for Hamid Ansari,Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is said to be warming up to the idea of supporting his candidature for a second term as the Vice-President,although she is yet to take a final call.

She has called a meeting of her party’s MPs and MLAs on Wednesday,24 hours prior to the Presidential election,to spell out her stand.

Leaders close to her said she was not in favour of opening another front with the Congress over the Vice-Presidential election because she had already been isolated within the UPA on the issue of supporting Pranab Mukherjee for the post of President. Mamata had been opposed to Ansari’s candidature in the first term since he was proposed by the Left. More recently,his role while chairing the Lokpal debate in the Rajya Sabha invited criticism from the TMC which was opposed to the Bill.

However,TMC sources said the fact that Mamata did not oppose Ansari’s candidature at the UPA meeting on Saturday was significant. “(Railway Minister) Mukul Roy was merely instructed to propose the two names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Krishna Bose as our choice,but we did not have serious hopes of finding other takers for these names,” said a senior TMC functionary.

He added that Ansari being a Muslim,political parties would have to have a really compelling reason to oppose his candidature — something the TMC does not yet have. The leadership has also chosen not to take the matter further by trying to drum up public support for Gandhi or Bose — as was done in the case of former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

Party insiders said while speaking to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,who had called up Mamata last week seeking support for Ansari,the West Bengal Chief Minister did not give any indications,which could imply that she would not consider Singh’s request.

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