It is not right to waste our vote by not casting it, hence the painful decision: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee said here on Tuesday that her party would vote for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the July 19 Presidential election.

She , however, made it clear that the decision to vote for Mr. Mukherjee was a painful one. “Taking it was difficult…It is not right to waste our vote by not casting it; so we have decided to vote for Pranab Mukherjee. Not that we have accepted the choice wholeheartedly; but we had no option,” she told journalists at the Secretariat after a meeting with some leaders of the Trinamool.

Shortly therafter, Mr. Mukherjee called on Ms. Banerjee to thank her.

A decision on the Vice-Presidential election would be taken later, Ms. Banerjee added.

‘Not to please anyone’

The decision to vote for Mr. Mukherjee was taken because of the “compulsions of coalition politics and our commitment to democracy, not to please anyone,” she said, adding that it did not bring any cheer to her. “It is not about supporting any individual, but concerns the greater good.”

She had “not bowed to any pressure” while taking the decision.

With the former President, Abdul Kalam, whose name the Trinamool had proposed, “unfortunately”’ declining to contest, the party could have decided to abstain from voting “but that would have been wasting our vote and I think it would not have been right” she said.

Ms. Banerjee said that she had informed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of her party’s decision. “I told him that he will be happy to know of our support [to Mr. Mukherjee] though we do not want anything.”

‘Old chapter’

As for her earlier reservations about Mr. Mukherjee’s candidature, Ms. Banerjee said it was “an old chapter” that one should “forget.”