Congress leaders in West Bengal reacted with shock and anger to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees refusal to endorse Pranab Mukherjee for President,comparing her to Mir Jafar,the 18th century general whose betrayal of Nawab Siraj-ud-daullah led to the British conquest of Bengal and,subsequently India.
The finance minister himself declined to comment when reached over the phone this evening. He would not like to give a quote to anyone,Pranab Mukherjee told The Indian Express.
Abhijit Mukherjee,Pranabs son and Congress MLA from Nalhati,said the chief ministers decision was unfortunate. But I should not make any comment at this juncture because that might harm his (Mukherjees) interests, he said.
Adhir Chowdhury,veteran Congress MP from Baharampur,said,Today is a black day in the history of Bengal. 1996 (when the CPM central committee refused to endorse Jyoti Basu for prime minister) has been repeated. Mamata Banerjee can only be compared with Mir Jafar. She has betrayed Bengalis,and has become a shame for the people of Bengal.
West Bengal Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya,who had earlier appealed to Banerjee to endorse Pranab Mukherjee,said,She seems to have done this out of personal vendetta. But she has hurt the sentiments of Bengalis and she will have to pay the price.
Mamata has repeatedly expressed frustration over what she sees as Mukherjees refusal to bail Bengal out of its financial crisis. At a meeting of the Trinamool legislature party earlier this year,she had described former railway minister Dinesh Trivedis proposal to raise rail fares as the handiwork of Pranab Mukherjee. The state unit of the Congress and TMC have been at war for a while now with each one daring the other to pull out.
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