In an indirect reference to the Trinamool Congress, the UPA Presidential candidate, Pranab Mukherjee, said on Saturday that he would appeal to the ruling coalition’s constituent that has not decided yet to back him.
“All the constituents of UPA who are in the government, but one, have supported [me]. Even parties outside the UPA, such as the SP, the BSP, the CPI(M), the AIFB, the JD(U) and the Shiv Sena, have extended their support. I pray that those who have not taken a decision… may support the UPA candidate,” he said, speaking to reporters here.
Having earlier supported the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is yet to make known her mind after Mr. Kalam chose not to contest.
“A village boy”
Before setting off for his native place in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, Mr. Mukherjee, 76, admitted that he was nostalgic. “Not many of you perhaps know… I am basically a village boy. I graduated from a district college and I would rush home from my hostel even when there was a three-day break. I am inextricably linked with my village… Yes, I am suffering from nostalgia now.”
Mr. Mukherjee arrived in his native places — Kirnahar and Mirati — to a tumultuous welcome. People lined up the roads, holding aloft garlands and bouquets; girls blew conch shells and performed tribal dances.
Standing near his ancestral house, he said: “It feels good to come back to the village which has raised you.” He offered worship to the family deity and visited his family elders.
“If I am elected President, a new era would start for me, after nearly four decades in politics. For the President, there is neither politics nor any party; he acts according to the Constitution,” he said.