Presidential polls: Trinamool, Samajwadi Party keep suspense on (Roundup)June 11th, 2012 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) The pace picked up for the presidential polls Monday with the Election Commission saying the dates would be announced soon even as the Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress kept their cards close to their chest on supporting a Congress candidate.
The Congress too continued to maintain silence on its candidate though union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s name has been doing the rounds as the front runner.
“A process is going on, but nothing is final,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
With the poll announcement expected this week and the Trinamool yet to declare its support, all eyes were on the party’s Finance Minister Amit Mitra who arrived in the capital to meet Mukherjee over a a financial package for the state.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Monday also alluded to demands for a financial package for Uttar Pradesh and made it clear that his party will decide on the presidential polls after the Congress candidate and other nominees in the fray were known.
The SP and Trinamool are among parties expected to have a decisive say in the presidential election with neither the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nor the main opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) having the numbers to get their candidate elected. There has been speculation that Trinamool boss Mamata Banerjee’s support to the possible candidature of Mukherjee would hinge on his agreeing to a package for West Bengal.
Amit Mitra, after meeting Mukherjee, said that discussions for a financial package were incomplete.
“The discussions shall go on…when they conclude, we will come back to you,” Mitra told mediapersons.
Mitra said he will apprise Mamata Banerjee about the progress of his talks.
Banerjee, whose party is a constituent of UPA, has asked the central government for a three-year moratorium on the payment of interests by the state on the “huge financial debt taken during the Left regime”.
With her demand remaining unfulfilled, Banerjee has stayed aloof to the momentum in support of Mukherjee’s candidature.
A senior West Bengal Congress leader, Manas Bhunia, had Sunday appealed to Banerjee to support Mukherjee’s candidature.
Yadav, whose SP supports the UPA from outside, said the party will make its stance known on the presidential polls when a candidate is announced.
“I do not know whom Congress has made its candidate. It has not been reported by newspapers that an announcement has been made. When a candidate is declared, we will decide,” the SP chief said in the capital.
Signalling that his party’s support cannot be taken for granted, Yadav said the Samajwadi Party will decide its stance on the individual merits of the candidate.
He also said no party had contacted him for the presidential polls and the party will call a meeting of its parliamentary board to take a decision.
He also sought to allay the impression that the SP was closely aligned to UPA, and added that his party was supporting the Congress-led UPA coalition only to keep “communal forces at bay”.
“Samajwadi Party is a separate party. We are not behind anyone,” he said.
The developments come on a day new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V.S. Sampath said the poll panel would soon be making an announcement on the presidential election schedule.
“All preparatory works are in full swing and an announcement regarding the election schedule is due shortly,” Sampath said.
He, however, did not specify the date of notification, saying “let there be some surprise.”
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