Seeking TMC leader’s support, Congress upset that he described her as “erratic” and “immature”
Seventy two hours after Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee became the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s official candidate for the Presidential elections, a galvanised Congress focused its attention, not merely on ensuring his victory, but also in persuading the prodigal Trinamool Congress (TMC) to return to UPA fold.
So much so that the Congress’ Media Cell sent out a curt text message to journalists on Monday, informing them “Shri Digvijay Singh is not officially authorised to speak on behalf of the party.” The Congress is apparently upset that Mr. Singh, in an interview to a TV channel on Sunday, described TMC leader Mamata Banerjee as “erratic” and “immature” and stressed there is a “limit” to the party's patience.
“All efforts have been made to console her, accept her views and tantrums... Beyond a certain limit, the decision is hers,” Mr. Singh had said. “There is a limit to which you can bend to... There are certain eventualities which, if they cannot be avoided, have to be faced,” he added. He had also said that if the Centre had agreed to a financial package out of turn for West Bengal, “probably Mamataji would not have opposed Pranab Mukherjee.”
On Monday, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari stressed the Congress wished to reiterate that it was seeking the support of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the TMC for Mr. Mukherjee’s candidature. “Mr. Mukherje has personally appealed to her. He has addressed her as a sister and said he would expect that she and the TMC support his candidature.”
He refused to comment on the manner in which Mr. Singh was ticked off by the Media Cell.
Team Anna’s charges
Reacting to allegations levelled by Team Anna against Mr. Mukherjee, Mr. Tiwari said: “It is unfortunate that some people have got into the habit of making allegations against distinguished and senior leaders who have spent a lifetime in public service… to drag Mr. Mukherjee’s name into these proceedings is politically motivated, and reflects the panic in certain quarters, given the broad multi-party support Mr. Mukherjee’s candidature has drawn from across the country.”
Clearly, the Congress — angry as it is with Ms. Banerjee — is more intent that the UPA unitedly vote for Mr. Mukherjee at the moment.