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Trinamool to convince Kalam, ready to leave UPA if needed

Kolkata(IANS): The Trinamool Congress Monday asserted that it was prepared to leave the UPA government if the Congress considered it unwanted, and said efforts would be made to convince former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to contest for the president’s post.

Briefing mediapersons after a meeting of party MPs and legislators, Trinamool parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said the party did not want to topple the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ministry, but its ministers were mentally prepared to put in their papers if the situation so demanded.

Denying reports that the Trinamool ministers in the central government handed over their resignation to Banerjee at the meeting, Bandopadhyay said: “There is no truth in this. We don’t want to cause the fall of the UPA government. We have not yet taken any such decision”.

“But mentally all the ministers are ready if the situation goes to that extent. If the (UPA) government feels we are staying in the government forcibly, our ministers will not be found wanting in taking the proper decision”.

Backing Banerjee’s decision to pitch for Kalam as the presidential candidate, Bandopadhyay said: “We still feel that the decision to nominate A.P.J.Abdul Kalam for thepost of president was a right decision. We still believe that Kalam is the best person for the job.

“There are still many days left. We will try to convince him. But if he sticks to his decision then we will again sit for discussions with our MPs and MLAs and decide the next course of action,” he said.

Kalam Monday announced that he has decided not to contest the presidential election after studying “the totality of the matter”.

With Kalam thanking Banerjee and other political parties who wanted him to be their candidate, Bandopadhyay said : “We are extremely grateful and honoured”.

Banerjee and Trinamool Congress were left red-faced after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had initially supported the Trinamool leader’s nominees, last Friday did a U-turn, and announced he would support UPA’s candidate Pranab Mukherjee as the country’s president.

But an unfazed Banerjee remained firm on her stand to support Kalam.

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