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Trinamool pullout queers pitch for his smooth sailing in bypoll
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjees decision to pull out from UPA II has not only put the Congress central leadership in trouble,it has also queered the pitch for President Pranab Mukherjees son Abhijit Mukherjee,the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha bypoll in Jangipur seat.
With Mamata making it clear that her ministers in the Union Cabinet will formally submit their resignation on Friday - if the UPA does not roll back its decisions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail,hiking diesel price and imposing a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders - a strong possibility has emerged that her party will field a candidate against Congress candidate Abhijit.
Jangipur seat,a strong base of Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury,fell vacant after Pranabs elevation to the presidential post. Abhijit is presently a Congress MLA from Nalhati constituency in Birbhum district.
The last date for submission of nomination for the Jangipur bypoll is September 22 while the election is on October 10.
Abhijits victory had been a foregone conclusion because he had the backing of the Trinamool. After the Congress-led UPAs decision on FDI,the equation changed overnight.
Although Abhijit is hopeful that a compromise formula between Congress and Trinamool will emerge within three days,the chance of Trinamool reconsidering the decision of pulling out of UPA seems remote unless the Congress high command rolls back its decisions as demanded by Mamata.
I am not commenting at the moment. Is the alliance between Congress and Trinamool broken? Who announced this? Abhijit said when asked if the Trinamool would field a candidate against him. It is premature to say that the alliance has broken. There is still some time. Let them (Trinamool) withdraw support formally first, he added.
However,sources from Trinamool hinted that the party would field a candidate if the issues raised by Mamata are not addressed. A key Trinamool leader said,One MP had raised the question about Jangipur bypoll at yesterdays meeting. But Mamata did not want a discussion on the issue.
Another Trinamool leader said,If the Congress sticks to its decision till Friday,Mamata will have no option but to formally inform the President about the decision to pull out support from the Centre. In that case,the party will field a candidate in the Jangipur bypoll.
Sovondeb Chattopadhyay,Trinamool chief whip in the West Bengal Assembly,said: The chief minister will take a final call in this regard.
Another Trinamool MP said: If the Congress does not change its stand on the issues we have raised,it will not be possible for us to support the Congress on any front. If the party supports a Congress candidate,it will reduce the credibility and respect of the party.
Trinamool MP Saugata Roy said: It is too early to speculate. There is still some time left. The party will take a call (on fielding a candidate in Jangipur) later.