President race: Mamata hedges on Pranab, backs Meira (Second lead)May 21st, 2012 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Ruling UPA’s alliance partner, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Monday said she would “be happy” with Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi or A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as president but not Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The Congress said they would hold consultations with all concerned parties on the issue.
Refusing to back Mukherjee, the West Bengal chief minister said: “I’ll be very happy to see Meira Kumar or Gopal Gandhi or even A.P.J. Kalam. These three names are better. I think so.”
“Is he (Mukherjee) the son of Bengal? He may be the son of world… I don’t think so, but it is his choice. I don’t know,” she replied when asked by CNN-IBN in an interview about her stand on backing Mukherjee for the coveted post.
“No, I didn’t say but if the country allows him, who am I to oppose it,” she said.
“It depends on the majority, it’s a democratic country. He is finance minister… It’s Congress party’s decision who will be the candidate we cannot say… I cannot interfere in 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 Gopal Gandhi (former governor of West Bengal) he is a very good man also. He is a man of integrity, and if you ask me A.P.J. (Abdul) Kalam he 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 (UPA), 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.
The Congress chose to stay away from Banerjee’s remark.
“I have not heard or seen the statement,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.
Alvi said Congress will hold consultations with all concerned on the issue of next president.
Meanwhile, the BJP leadership Monday discussed former Speaker and Nationalist Congress Party leader P.A. Sangma’s candidature for the post of the president.
The party will take a final decision soon.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik have backed Sangma’s candidature.
Sangma, who met Communist Party of India leader D. Raja to seek his support, said he may contest as an independent candidate if his party does not back him.
- President race: Mamata hedges on Pranab, backs Meira, Kalam (Lead) - May 21, 2012
- Sangma seeks support, not many takers (Lead) - May 22, 2012
- Mamata backs Meira, Kalam or Gopal Gandhi as president - May 21, 2012
- Mamata to meet Sonia on presidential choice Wednesday (Lead) - Jun 12, 2012
- Mitra meets Pranab, says discussions incomplete - Jun 11, 2012
- Mamata to meet Sonia on presidential polls Wednesday - Jun 12, 2012
- Pranab says he likes Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns! - May 25, 2012
- Mamata to meet Sonia on presidential choice (Second Lead) - Jun 12, 2012
- Mukherjee will now win by bigger margin, says Congress - Jul 17, 2012
- Let Sangma read the constitution: Bengal Congress chief - Jun 24, 2012
- Mamata government to give civic reception to president - Aug 23, 2012
- Congress hails Kalam's decision, seeks Mamata's support - Jun 18, 2012
- Mamata telephones Pranab to congratulate him, to attend swearing-in - Jul 22, 2012
- Am ready to talk to Mamata if she is ready: Pranab - Jul 09, 2012
- Sangma appeals to NDA allies for support (Lead) - Jun 21, 2012
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