An isolated Mamata Banerjee is trying all that she can to garner support for APJ Abdul Kalam as President. The Trinamool Congress chief, on Sunday night, called up AIADMK boss and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, asking her to back Dr Kalam for the country's top job. Ms Jayalalithaa, however, asked Ms Banerjee to support former Lok Sabha speaker and NCP leader PA Sangma instead.
The development comes close on the heels of Ms Banerjee's appeal on the social networking site Facebook to muster support for Dr Kalam, a former president himself.
Ms Jayalalithaa's response, hence, would be a setback for Ms Banerjee, given that sources say a section of the BJP is in favour of a consensus on Pranab Mukherjee, particularly since APJ Abdul Kalam, seen as a rival candidate, is unwilling to run against the Finance Minister. The JD(U), a key constituent of the NDA, is also not keen on a contest as the UPA have the numbers but a section of BJP favours a fight. In fact, it is not averse to backing Mr Sangma, and could seek Ms Banerjee's support in the event of a contest.
Mr Sangma also has the backing of Odisha Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik; he has still not bowed out of the race despite his party leadership's stern warning.