Pranab thanks Mamata, Sonia invites her for lunch

UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday invited Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for a luncheon meeting.

Last Updated: Jul 17, 2012, 21:18 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Hours after Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee announced that her party will support UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential poll, Congress president Sonia Gandhi called up the TMC chief and thanked her for the support.

Gandhi also invited the Trinamool chief for tomorrow`s luncheon meeting of UPA allies and other supporting parties.

Mukherjee also called up Mamata and expressed his gratitude to her.

Earlier in the day, Mamata said that the party has taken the decision to support Pranab as it was left with no other option.

She said that the TMC is not happy about having to support Pranab. “It is painful (to decide to support Pranab) but we are doing so to uphold democratic principles,” she said.
“It was the only option. We did not decide to vote for Pranab to please anyone; in a democracy if we don’t vote then it would be betrayal of the people,” she said.

Mamata said that she stood by Pranab when he was going through a difficult phase in his political career and never had a fight with him.

Her stand is a clear U-turn as Mamata had dared the Congress and come close to leaving the UPA over Pranab’s nomination as Presidential candidate.

She had along with Mulayam Singh Yadav announced three names – APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee – as her choices for the next occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
But the wily Mulayam switched sides, leaving her alone in political wilderness.

The decision to back Pranab would have come as a bitter pill, but clearly, she was left with no other option.