Backing Pranab because candidates we chose refused to be in fray: SP
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After marginalising Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee in the national politics by doing a U-turn on Presidential election, Samajwadi Party (SP) said that it had no other option but to support UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee as the three candidates proposed by the Trinamool-SP combine did not give their consent to fight the election.
"We had selected Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Dr Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee as our three choices. But none of them gave their nod to fight the election. In such a situation, we had no option but to support Pranab Mukherjee," said SP leader Kiranmoy Nanda, who had brought Mamata and Mulayam together in the run-up to the Presidential election.
The statement came at a time when Trinamool leaders had started calling SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav a "traitor". When asked if Mulayam had a discussion with Mamata before lending support to Pranab, the SP leader said: "Why are you raising the issue again? It is now a closed chapter."
Nanda, who had been fisheries minister for more than two decades in West Bengal during the Left regime, had met Mamata a couple of months ago triggering speculation of a non-Congress and non-BJP alliance in the national politics. Following the meeting, he had said he came to Kolkata as "emissary of Mulayam Singh Yadav" to discuss national issues, including Presidential election, with the Bengal CM. When asked about his relation with the Left Front, Nanda had told the reporters that "it is a close chapter".
When contacted on Saturday, Nanda said he would have been very happy had any of the three SP-Trinamool candidates decided to fight the poll. "One should not blame us for what happened. Since we have supported the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee, attempts have been started from certain quarters to create confusion and misunderstanding between Trinamool and SP. This is unfortunate," he said, adding: "The ties between Trinamool and SP are still alive and will remain alive. Not only that, we maintain good relations with like-minded parties in other states, such as Orissa."
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