Am ready to talk to Mamata if she is ready: Pranab

July 9th, 2012 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Kolkata, July 9 (IANS) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee Monday said he was willing to meet Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee provided she too was ready to talk.

Mukherjee, who is in the city to garner support for his candidature, said: “I am ready to talk to her as and when she is ready to talk to me. Since my candidature was announced I have expressed my desire to have the support of the partner of UPA Trinamool Congress.”

“I understand that they have not yet taken a decision. They will take the decision at the appropriate time,” Mukherjee told reporters.

Banerjee, also West Bengal chief minister, is yet to announce her party’s support to any candidate. She had earlier snubbed Mukherjee by rooting for former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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, Kalam, declined to contest.

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 July 19 vote.

In an indication of a hardening of the Trinamool stand, party leader Subrata Mukherjee Sunday said Mukherjee had been a close friend of the Communists through his life.

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

The electoral arithmetic seems to be favouring Mukherjee with all the UPA constituents except Trinamool rooting for him. The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, All India Forward Bloc, Janata Dal-United and Shiv Sena have also expressed their support for him.

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