New Delhi: Congress on Thursday blamed Mamata Banerjee for the political mess over the Presidential candidate choice in an apparent bid to drive a wedge between her Trinamool Congress and Mulyam Singh Yadav`s Samajwadi Party.
"You must have noticed that the initiative to present alternative names came mainly from Banerjee and not Yadav a senior Congress leader said speaking on the condition of anonymity.
He feels that the SP chief did not intend to oppose UPA nominees but could not say no to Banerjee, who was apparently furious on coming to know about Pranab Mukherjee`s candidature for the high post.
Indications from Congress are that the party is veering round to a view that it cannot allow any troublesome ally to dictate terms on an issue like Presidential poll and that the party has to prepare for any eventuality.
"We still consider she is our ally. We will not ask her to leave," the leader said when asked whether Congress-Trinamool ties will remain intact after this show-down between them on the issue of Presidential poll.
Another party leader, however, expressed confidence that Banerjee will also come on board eventually on the issue.
Though he did not agree with the contention that Trinamool Congress chief naming three new candidates was in a way challenging the authority of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he significantly added "we have braved many challenges".
Trinamool Congress has emerged in recent months as the most troublesome ally of the Congress in UPA having shot down a number of key proposals of the government as also creating embarrassment for UPA on issues like Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh as well as on the agreement on the exchange of enclaves with that country.
Virtually disapproving of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee`s action of disclosing the names of Mukherjee and Ansari as first and second choices of Congress, party spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said the process of consultation was still on and Gandhi had not finalised any name.
"There is a dignity to the process. When such talks are held, names are not discussed outside," Dwiviedi said.