Congress withdraws, Trinamool candidates elected unopposed to RS (Lead)March 22nd, 2012 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, March 22 (IANS) Unwilling to antagonise alliance partner Trinamool Congress, whose chief apparently put pressure on its central leaders, the Congress Thursday got its Rajya Sabha candidate from West Bengal Abdul Mannan to withdraw from the race paving the way for all Trinamool nominees to get elected unopposed to the upper house of parliament.
Congress General Secretary in-charge of the state Shakeel Ahmed claimed the party also did not have the numbers to ensure Mannan’s victory, but the latter contested it.
“My victory was assured. Otherwise why should my party leaders ask me to contest,” a dejected Mannan told reporters at the state Congress headquarters Bidhan Bhavan.
Talking to IANS over phone, Shakeel gave three reasons for the Congress decision to pull out. “At the last minute, we realised it was not possible to get the sufficient number of votes. One the other hand, we do not want to antagonise our alliance partner… That’s why we decided to withdraw.
“Also, the Left had surplus votes after electing its only candidate. So there was also an apprehension that the Left, to create problems between us (Congress and Trinamool) may have voted for us.”
Asked whether Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had put pressure on the Congress high command, Ahmed was evasive.
“She (Banerjee) met Pranabda (Congress leader Praanb Mukherjee). In her meeting she may have said something, because both are from West Bengal. And Pranabda is a senior lader of the party. But I don’t have any conclusive confirmation on that.”
Political circles feel the Congress now needs to keep the Trinamool happy because of its political compulsions. It has to get key legislations like the Lokpal bill passed and the presidential elections are round the corner, where the Trinamool has the fourth highest number of votes among all parties.
Mannan, who has a 48-year association with the Congress, said he filed his nomination following instructions from the high command. “And as a loyal party worker, I am withdrawing because our leadership has asked me to do so. I had never requested the party to make me a candidate.”
“In the larger interest, the high command has taken this decision. Sometimes such political decisions have to be taken.”
On whether he was feeling let down, Mannan replied in the negative. “The Congress as a party has sacrificed a lot. I am only a worker.”
In Delhi, Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury said: “It would have been better had the party leadership judged all pros and cons before asking a senior leader like Mannan to throw his hat in the ring. My heart goes out to him.”
The Congress, with 42 assembly members and the backing of another independent legislator, still needed six votes from either Trinamool or the Left front to ensure Mannan made it to the Rajya Sabha.
After Mannan’s withdrawal, all the five candidates in fray - four of the Trinamool and one belonging to the Left Front - were elected unopposed as the deadline for withdrawal of nomination expired Thursday.
The four winning Trinamoool candidates are new Railway Minister Mukul Roy (who has been re-elected), and three journalists Kunal Ghosh, Mohammed Nadim-ul-Haq and Vivek Gupta.
The other victor is Tapan Sen of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
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- Trinamool's votes not needed in presidential poll: Congress - Jul 06, 2012
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- Decide on Trinamool alliance after presidential polls: Bengal Congress - Jul 09, 2012
- Jolted by Trinamool, Congress to wait for Sonia's return (Lead) - Mar 18, 2011
- Trinamool should support Pranab to save face: Congress - Jul 16, 2012
- Rajya Sabha race hots up in Congress' Bengal unit - Jul 05, 2011
- Jolted by Trinamool, Congress to discuss developments - Mar 18, 2011
- Pranab welcomes Trinamool decision - Jul 17, 2012
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Tags: alliance partner, apprehension, central leaders, congress leader, general secretary, hellip, house of parliament, legislations, mamata banerjee, party leaders, paving the way, political circles, political compulsions, presidential elections, rajya sabha, state congress, trinamool congress, upper house of parliament, us congress, west bengal