UPA’s presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Kolkata on Friday night for a two-day visit for the first time since he was chosen by the ruling coalition as its nominee for the top post and once again appealed to parties “who are yet to make up their minds” to support his candidature. He has, however, not made it clear whether he will meet Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeee during the visit.
The Trinamool Congress is yet to announce its stand on the presidential choice after its preferred candidate, former president APJ Abdul Kalam, declined to contest. Banerjee has been estranged from the coalition over her refusal to support Mukherjee. Besides Congress’ allies, Mukherjee also enjoys the support of two Left parties, as well as NDA constituents Shiv Sena and Janata Dal (United). This should fetch him 63 percent of the vote on July 19.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Presidential nominee PA Sangma had also said on Friday that he was hopeful of getting Mamata Banerjee‘s support. However, there has been no word from the Trinamool Congress yet on who will the support.
Mukherjee is scheduled to leave for his village Mirati in Birbhum district where he would attend a puja ceremony in his ancestral home. Mukherjee will also seek blessings from elder sister Annapurna Banerjee, who lives in Parota village neighbouring Mirati.
Mukherjee is likely to hold a meeting with Congress workers on his return to Kolkata.
He is slated to visit Belur Math, global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission on Sunday morning before returning to Delhi.
With inputs from Agencies