Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress, the principal Opposition party in West Bengal, will abstain from voting in Thursday’s Presidential election. This was unanimously decided at a meeting convened by the party’s chairperson Mamata Banerjee here on Wednesday.

The decision was a “silent protest” against the refusal of the parties concerned to nominate President A.P.J Abdul Kalam for a second term, Ms. Banerjee said. “I had suggested his name at an earlier meeting of the National Democratic Alliance, but it is unfortunate that even though the people of the country wanted Dr. Kalam as President that was not to be.” The Trinamool Congress is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance.

“It is our bad luck that the Presidential election has been reduced to a game of numbers and this reflects the bankruptcy of some political parties, ” Ms. Banerjee said.

Ms. Banerjee has been increasingly distancing herself and the party from the BJP. This was evident in the recent elections in the State, and markedly so after Trinamool began to lead the movement against the acquisition of farmland for industry.

With one of its MLAs under suspension, the strength of the Trinamool Congress in the Assembly is 29. It has a lone MP in the Lok Sabha and three members in the Rajya Sabha.