Millennium Post

Mamata wants Meira as president

The West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that she would 'be happy' with Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi or A P J Abdul Kalam as president but not with the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Refusing to back Mukherjee, the Trinamool Congress chief said, 'I'll be very happy to see Meira Kumar or Gopal Gandhi or even A P J Kalam [chosen for the post] … These three names are better. I think so.'

'Is he the son of Bengal? He may be the son of the world. I don't think so, but it is his choice. I don't know,' she replied when in a TV interview about her stand on backing Mukherjee for the coveted post. 'No, I didn't say, but if country allows him, who am I to oppose it?' she said.

'It depends on the majority. It's a democratic country. He is the finance minister... It's the Congress party's decision to decide the candidate. We cannot say... I cannot interfere in the Congress party's business. It's not my prerogative,' she said.

'But if you ask my party's choice or the personal choice, then I'll say I love Meira Kumar. She is a soft-spoken lady and from the Scheduled Caste background also,' she said, referring to the Lok Sabha speaker.

'Even I love [the former governor of West Bengal] Gopal Gandhi. He is a very good man also. He is a man of integrity, and if you ask me, A P J Kalam was a very good president also. He was an all party choice.'

Though the Congress is yet to announce its preference for the top post, there is a section in the party that feels Mukherjee, widely seen as the chief troubleshooter of the United Progressive Alliance, would be better off serving the government.

There is no consensus yet among key political parties on who should succeed Pratibha Patil as the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
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