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‘Pranab a friend of communists’

A Trinamool Congress leader Sunday said that UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee has been a close friend of the Communists throughout his life.

‘[Mukherjee] owes a lot to CPI-M [Communist Party of India-Marxist] and Left Front. When he started his political career in Bengal Congress in the 1960s, then also he received lot of help from the Marxists,’ Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said.

‘And now, when he is leaving party politics, he is again getting the help of the Communists. He has been a very close friend of CPI-M all through his life,’ he added.

The Trinamool, the second largest constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance [UPA], is yet to take a stand on the presidential election after its preferred candidate, former president APJ Abdul Kalam declined to contest.

But Banerjee has so far opposed Mukherjee’s bid for the top post. She is said to have told her aides that she would decide her stand two or three days before the 19 July vote.

Mukhherjee is pitted against former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma, who has the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and some National Democratic Alliance constituents besides the AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal.


FOUR STATES LIKELY TO VOTE IN FULL FOR MUKHERJEE

All the votes in Kerala, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim are likely to go in favour of UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential poll, leaving a blank for Opposition candidate P A Sangma.

The entire bunch of political parties, which have MPs and MLAs from these states, have officially announced support for Mukherjee though two parties CPI and RSP, which have lawmakers in Kerala and Tripura, have decided to abstain from voting.

Lawmakers in Nagaland and Sikkim are likely to vote for Mukherjee while there will be abstentions in Kerala and Tripura, where CPI and RSP have presence in the Assembly. All the votes to be polled in these states will go to Mukherjee as the parties, including CPI-M, have pledged support for Mukherjee’s Presidential bid, save for some unlikely event of cross-voting.

Overall in the election, Mukherjee is likely to have a smooth ride with an assured support from parties which have a vote value of at least 6.50 lakh, much above the requisite figure of 5,49,442.

With NDA allies JD-U and Shiv Sena breaking ranks with BJP to support Mukherjee, the number on his rival side has dwindled and Sangma is likely to garner around 3.20 lakh. He can muster around 3.65 lakh votes if Trinamool supports him. Kerala, which has a vote value of 41,812 in the electoral college of 10,98,882, has 140 MLAs, 29 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, of which 15 MLAs [13 from CPI and two from RSP] and an MP [CPI] will abstain from voting. Mukherjee is likely to garner 38,830 vote value while abstention is valued at 2,988.

In Tripura with 60 MLAs and 3 MPs, Mukherjee is likely to pocket votes having a value of 3,606. Three MLAs of CPI and RSP, with a vote value of 78, will abstain from voting. Nagaland and Sikkim have a vote value of 1,956 and 1,640 respectively.
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