Congress hopes Mamata will back Pranab

Congress on Friday expressed the hope Mamata Baneerjee`s party will vote for the UPA`s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.

Updated: Jul 13, 2012, 20:57 PM IST

New Delhi: Notwithstanding Mamata Baneerjee`s refusal to attend UPA dinner on July 18, Congress on Friday expressed the hope her party will vote for the alliance`s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.

"Hopefully she (Banerjee) will vote for both our Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees," AICC in-charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

The confidence of the Congress leader stems from a feeling that Banerjee would not be able to overlook the Bengali sentiments and will also not like to be seen with the BJP, which is backing the candidature of PA Sangma.

Though the Congress has yet not officially named its Vice Presidential nominee, there are broad indications that incumbent Vice President Hamid Ansari is the candidate.

Sources said that Ansari`s name could be announced tomorrow after the UPA meeting. A meeting of Congress top brass deliberated over the issue in detail in over an hour long meeting.

The meeting of Congress Core Group chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side is learnt to have decided on the Vice Presidential issue.

There is a view in Congress that Ansari, who became Vice President in 2007 with the backing of many parties including Left is a "safer" choice.

The Core Group meeting took place on day, when Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmed Patel rang up Mamata Banerjee inviting her to the UPA dinner on July 18, but the Trinamool Congress chief said would be unable to attend.

Trinamool Congress sources said that it was not a boycott of the dinner but Banerjee could not attend as she would be busy with the annual Trinamool Congress `martyr`s day` rally here on July 21 for which party workers would begin arriving from July 18.