He's trying to divide Trinamool over the Presidential poll, say party leaders
The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday criticised rebel party MP Kabir Suman for asserting his support to Union Finance Minister and UPA’s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee during a telephonic conversation between the two.
The party accused Mr. Mukherjee of trying to divide the party over the Presidential poll.
“I received a call from Mr. Mukherjee and I assured him my support to his candidature,” Mr. Suman told The Hindu .
Describing Mr. Mukherjee as a down-to-earth politician and one of the best Parliamentarians, Mr. Suman said he is the “most appropriate” candidate for the post of President.
“Officially I am a Trinamool Congress MP but my party has cut off all relations with me. As a Parliamentarian and as a citizen of the country, I am free to support the candidate who I feel will make a good President,” Mr. Suman said.
“In bad taste”
However, senior party leader Subrata Mukherjee condemned Mr. Mukherjee’s move to garner support for his candidature.
Claiming that Mr. Mukherjee’s call to a party MP who had differences with the party leadership was a “bad precedent and in bad taste”, he said it also showed in a bad light the office of the President for which he was contesting.
“He should have called party chairperson Mamata Banerjee instead,” the party leader said.
Mr. Suman argued that MPs do not have to abide by the party’s whip for the Presidential poll, adding that he would vote for Mr. Mukherjee despite objections from his party.
In a tweet, Derek O’Brien, another MP of the Trinamool Congress, questioned the political ethics of Mr. Mukherjee’s call. (“Is it politically ethical to do so? Or [is he] trying to break TMC?). Try and Try again. [Trinamool Congress] won’t break,” he said.
Trinamool is yet to announce its next move after its candidate, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, stated that he is not in the contest.
Meanwhile, the Central leadership of the Congress has renewed its attempts to persuade Ms. Banerjee to support Mr. Mukherjee.
“She is our alliance partner and since the candidate of her choice is not contesting, we certainly hope that Ms. Banerjee will support the UPA’s candidate. Once the nominations are filed, we will again approach her,” said Shakeel Ahmed, Congress general secretary in charge of West Bengal.