Prez polls: Trinamool, SP keep suspense on

Suspense mounted over the stand of two crucial UPA allies Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party over the Presidential poll.

New Delhi: Suspense mounted on Monday over the stand of two crucial UPA allies Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party over the Presidential poll for which the Election Commission is expected to announce a date shortly.

At the heart of the strategy of Trinamool and SP is their clamour for a financial package from the Centre but the Congress dismissed any possibility of a quid pro quo between any help to states and the Presidential poll.

Trinamool Congress today deputed West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra for talks with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, widely speculated to be UPA`s Presidential candidate, over the package issue but the discussions remained inconclusive.

Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata that she was yet to know the outcome of the meeting between Mukherjee and Mitra on the package, which is seen as her bargaining chip for support to UPA nominee.
Samajwadi Party, an outside supporter which is seen to have moved closer to Congress in the last one month, also played the cards close to its chest, refusing to disclose its strategy on whether it would support UPA candidate and specifically Mukherjee.

Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav gave a clear message to UPA that its support should not be taken for granted.

"The situation (in Uttar Pradesh) is bad following the misrule of previous (Mayawati) government.... That is why we want the maximum financial assistance," he said, adding that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has already met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.
The two parties command a vote value of over 1.16 lakh in an electoral college of nearly 11 lakh vote value. The UPA, on its own including Trinamool, has a vote value of 4.60 lakh and with BSP`s 43,000 and SP`s votes it can hope to sail through.


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