Mukherjee will now win by bigger margin, says Congress
New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The Congress Tuesday welcomed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's announcement about her party's support to UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election and said it will enable him to be successful with a bigger margin.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said party president Sonia Gandhi had appealed to political parties to support Mukherjee and the Trinamool Congress has now also expressed support for his candidature.
"With this expression of support, (Mukherjee's) candidature will be further strengthened...He will be successful with greater margin," Tewari told reporters here.
Banerjee had been the only constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) which had not so far supported Mukherjee's candidature.
Banerjee met Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month and was told the party proposed Mukherjee or Vice President Hamid Ansari for the presidential election.
Not agreeing with the names proposed by Gandhi, Banerjee along with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav suggested names of former president A.P.J. Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Speaker Somnath Chaterjee as possible presidential candidates. But the suggestions were firmly rejected by the Congress.
Even after Mulayam Singh pledged his support to Mukherjee after his name was finalised by the Congress, Banerjee remained non-committal about backing the former finance minister for the country's highest post.
Banerjee then said she would clear her party's stance closer to the election. Polling in presidential election is scheduled for Thursday with Mukherjee facing a challenge from former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma.
Banerjee's support to Mukherjee is expected to be viewed with relief in the Congress as the two parties are partners in the central and West Bengal governments.
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