Millennium Post

Pranab seeks Mamata’s support

The presidential candidate of the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee did not meet the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday as was being predicted in political circles. However, he appealed to all political parties seeking their support for his candidature in the presidential poll.

On his first visit to the city after he was chosen by the UPA as its nominee for the top post, he said, 'I have been nominated as the presidential candidate. Several parties have supported my candidature. Besides the UPA, many other parties have also supported me. Around 14 to 15 parties who are not part of the UPA have supported me. I appeal to the leaders of parties who have not yet announced their decision to support me,' he said outside his south Kolkata home. Mukherjee was obviously referring to Banerjee, who has so far resisted supporting him for the top job.

During the day, Mukherjee visited Belur Math, near Kolkata, and sought the blessings of the priests there. Some members of his family accompanied him on the trip. He then visited Raj Bhaban and met the West Bengal governor M K Narayanan for a courtesy visit. He also had lunch at the Raj Bhaban. The finance minister also visited his native village Kinnahar on Saturday, where he was accorded a warm welcome.

Banerjee has been estranged from the coalition over her refusal to support Mukherjee. She campaigned aggressively for a new term for the former president A P J Abdul Kalam; however, he eventually decided not to run for president, partly because the math appears to be in Mukherjee's favour. Besides the Congress' allies, Mukherjee also enjoys the support of two Left parties, as well as the National Democratic Alliance constituents Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal (United). This should fetch him about 63 per cent of the vote on 19 July.

Interestingly, after some bitter altercations, the West Bengal Pradesh Congress recently softened its stand on the Trinamool Congress and urged all parties to vote for Mukherjee, calling him a son of Bengal.
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