Why Mamata decided to abstain from the VP polls


NEW DELHI: Why did West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee pull out of the opposition unity efforts that she had initiated during the Presidential elections and decide on TMC abstaining from the vice presidential polls, weakening the opposition benches?
The reason is simple. “The TMC chief was given no hint about who the vice presidential candidate would be and neither was she consulted about any names before former Congress woman Margaret Alva’s name was declared as the joint opposition candidate,” senior TMC MP and national spokesperson of the party Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told the TOI on Friday, when asked about the turn around by his party.
“That she was kept in the dark about the VP candidate is likely to have irked Banerjee, who had initiated a move to get all opposition parties under one umbrella to put up a joint Presidential candidate, whatever may be the result,” according to Roy.
The TMC chief was upset about the way things went after she took the lead in getting opposition parties together for a joint Presidential candidate, said Roy. “Initially she was given to understand that NCP chief Sharad Pawar would contest the Presidential polls, if other opposition parties supported him. Based on that she (Banerjee) came to Delhi and convened a meeting of 17 opposition parties on June 15, but even after all the leaders requested him, Pawar turned down the offer and the names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopal Krishna Gandhi were suggested by her,” Roy narrated.
“When Abdullah and Gandhi declined, Yashwant Sinha’s name was finalised with the condition that he would relinquish his TMC affiliation, at a meeting in Pawar’s house, where Didi (Banerjee) was absent but TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was present. Before finalising Sinha’s name and the condition for him, the TMC chief was not consulted. Yet, for the sake of opposition unity, she (Banerjee) asked the party to vote for Sinha and he has got the maximum votes from Bengal in comparison to all the other states,” Roy added.
So when opposition nominee for the vice presidential race was announced, Banerjee called a meeting of her party leaders where it was unanimously decided that TMC would abstain from the polls slated for August 6.
While TMC’s pulling out in the VP polls may hurt opposition unity immediately, the political compulsions of the opposition parties including Congress, cannot allow them to ignore Banerjee from any joint effort against the ruling BJP, feel many in the opposition camp.





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