Toughening its stand, key United Progessive Alliance constituent Trinamool Congress on Thursday said if the Congress names Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee or Vice President Hamid Ansari as its Presidential candidate, it will "contest" the election with A P J Abdul Kalam as its nominee.
The party claimed that its leader Mamata Banerjee had not breached any trust by disclosing the names of Mukherjee and Ansari discussed with her by Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, saying that it was done with the "consent" and "permission" of the Congress chief.
"I can visualise a contest if the Congress goes ahead with the names of Pranab Mukherjee or Hamid Ansari...If Congress names either Pranab Mukherjee or Ansari, then TMC will contest... Trinamool Congress or Samajwadi Party then may go with A P J Abdul Kalam," Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh said.
Trinamool Congress, which has teamed up with Samajwadi Party, floated the names of Kalam, along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday as a counter to UPA's nominee.
On the Congress criticism of Trinamool chief for disclosing the names of Mukherjee and Ansari, Ghosh said, "Mamata had gone to meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss Presidential candidate and after the discussion Mamata asked Sonia whether she could disclose (names) to media standing outside.... And Sonia gave her the consent. That is what exactly she did."
He went on to claim that Mamata "took permission" of Gandhi on disclosing the names discussed at their meeting. "But now Congress is saying that Mamata should not have disclosed the names. Congress charges are not true. Whatever she said is well within the knowledge of Congress president Sonia Gandhi," Ghosh said.
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