No regionalism here; Mamata not keen on Pranab as Prez?

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Pranab Mukherjee-Mamata Banerjee
Kolkata, May 21: Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa seems to be campaigning hard to elevate NCP leader PA Sangma for the Presidential candidate, and the whole melee has taken the sheen off the possibility of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee having a chance to adorn the top post. In what can be seen as a further blow to Pranab’s chances, reports have emerged that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is not likely to endorse Pranab as the President.

Mamata’s intentions were revealed in an interview she gave to a private TV channel recently where she said that her party will not endorse Pranab as the next President even if he is named the UPA’s next choice of presidential candidate.

Mincing no words to reveal her choice for the top post in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mamata said that she prefers Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former West Bengal Governor Gopal  Krishna Gandhi and former President APJ Abdul Kalam for the President’s post.

In an interview, Mamata has been quoted as saying, “I love Meira Kumar. She is very soft spoken. Gopal Gandhi has done good work. Kalam was a good President. Pranab may be the son of the world, but if you ask me my choice, I'll go with Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi and APJ Abdul Kalam. But if the Congress wants to go with Pranab, it's their choice."

This latest comment from Mamata Banerjee has only intensified the presidential candidate discussion and is sure to cause more confusion among UPA and its allies. The fact that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik have joined hands with Jayalalithaa to back Sangma has thrown the spanner in the works with regards to arriving at a consensus candidate for the UPA.

Towards this effort, Jayalalithaa has also called up all her political friends personally to drum up support for Sangma. She is understood to have called up top BJP leader LK Advani, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI's AB Bardhan, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal.

The BJP will, however, hold a discussion on this front to ascertain the party’s choice for the President’s post.

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