Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati on Friday pledged her party's support to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the UPA's nominee for the next President.

Announcing her decision at a hurriedly convened press conference at the BSP headquarters here, Ms. Mayawati said among all the names being mentioned, Mr. Mukherjee was the best candidate. The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said should there be an election, the BSP would vote for the UPA candidate. She took a dig at arch political rival Mulayam Singh for his vacillation, after announcing three candidates with Mamata Banerjee. “The entire country saw his flip-flop.”

Ms. Mayawati said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had talked to her on the phone and her decision to support Mr. Mukherjee had been conveyed to them. “I have assured them the full support of the BSP,” she said. The BSP president said she had pledged her party's support to the UPA's candidate, despite the fact that she didn't agree with the Central government on several issues. “The BSP isn't satisfied with the policies of the UPA government, and many problems like price rise, unemployment, corruption, falling value of rupee, farmers' suicide and the step-motherly treatment given to SCs, STs and OBCs were related to these,” Ms. Mayawati said. Ms. Mayawati denied that Mr. Mukherjee as the Finance Minister was alone responsible for the economic crisis facing the country.

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