The Trinamool Congress will take its final decision on the Presidential election three days before the polling date on June 19, party chief Mamata Banerjee said today. Ms Banerjee, who is also the West Bengal Chief Minister, has asked all her party MPs, MLAs to be present in Kolkata for the Presidential election.
"Mamata said that the final decision on the party stand will be taken three days before the polling date", Trinamool Congress leaders Sudip Bandopadhyay and Sultan Ahmed (both unions ministers of state), said after a meeting of party MPs, MLAs and councillors, presided over by Mamata Banerjee.
"She has asked all Trinamool MPs and MLAs to be present in Kolkata on the polling date on July 19", they said.
Asked if the Trinamool Congress will participate in the presidential election, they said "May be. But the decision will only be taken three days before the election".
Mamata Banerjee told the meeting that Trinamool Congress "is a 100 per cent disciplined party and what one or two say, does not matter".
The Trinamool has not said yet who it will support after Mamata Banerjee's extravagant brinkmanship in Delhi two weeks ago came to naught. Though she partners in the ruling UPA at the Centre, she had stunned everyone by slighting the Congress, its president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister by saying that none of the candidates that it was considering was acceptable to her. She, along with Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samjawadi Party, had instead furnished a wish-list of three that included the name of Dr Manmohan Singh and that of ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam.
While Mulayam Singh came around soon enough and pledged support for Mr Mukherjee, Ms Banerjee, isolated but defiant, stomped back to Kolkata. When Mr Sangma had sought her support earlier, Ms Banerjee had said she could not do that as she supported Dr Kalam for President. Mr Sangma had then requested her to support his candidacy if Dr Kalam did not contest. Dr Kalam is not contesting.
Mr Sangma, who aspires to be India's first tribal President, is the official candidate of the BJP-led NDA, minus the important JD(U) which has said it will support Mr Mukherjee, and regional parties like the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal. Together, these parties do not have the numbers in the electoral college to swing the election in Mr Sangma's favour - he currently stands to win about 30% of the vote in the election, scheduled for July 19. But Mr Sangma is confident that he will make a contest of it.