President polls: Congress eyes Mamata`s support

Sources said that Mamata`s stand on the presidential polls will depend on whether she manages to win a moratorium for the debt-ridden state.

Updated: May 03, 2012, 14:55 PM IST

New Delhi: The Congress is hoping for the support of the Trinamool Congress in the presidential polls when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee meets party chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later Thursday.

Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, arrived here on Wednesday for talks with the UPA top leadership, during which the presidential elections will figure prominently.

"We are hoping for Trinamool`s support," Congress sources said Thursday.

"I`m sure when Mamata meets the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi, there will be convergence," Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath told reporters here Wednesday, indicating that Banerjee will back the UPA`s choice of the presidential candidate.

Banerjee is understood to have conveyed to Nath that that it was up to Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, to decide on the coalition`s candidate.

In her meeting with Manmohan Singh, Banerjee is expected to discuss the issue of a three-year moratorium on annaul interest payable on outstanding loans taken by her state. Reliable sources said that her stand on the presidential polls will depend on whether she manages to win a moratorium for the debt-ridden state.

The Congress is pitching for Vice President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as probable UPA choices for the July presidential polls. The BJP has ruled out support for any of them.

The UPA has over 40 percent of the total votes in the electoral college while the NDA has less than 30 percent.

The Trinamool Congress has 48,000 votes - the highest among the Congress allies.

IANS