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CPI(M), Forward Bloc decides to back Pranab, CPI, RSP to abstain

New Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI): Left parties were divided on the Presidential election on Thursday with Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Forward Bloc deciding to support United Progressive Alliance candidate Pranab Mukherjee while Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party opting to abstain from the voting.

The four left parties could not arrive at a consensus at an hour-long meeting here this evening attended by top leaders of the parties, including Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), A B Bardhan (CPI), T J Chandrachoodan (RSP) and Debabrata Biswas (FB).        

”Two parties have declared they will support Pranab Mukherjee, two parties have decided they will abstain,” Bardhan told reporters without elaborating.

CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said his party has decided to support the candidature of 77-year-old Mukherjee as “in the present situation, he is the candidate for the post of President with the widest possible acceptance”.

The CPI-M leader said support to Mukherjee did not mean backing for Congress and that his party will “resolutely fight” the “anti-people” policies of UPA government.

 Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said his party was not in favour of abstaining from the voting slated for July 19 for which the battle lines have been drawn between Mukherjee and P A Sangma.

RSP General Secretary T J Chandrachoodan said his party will abstain from the voting.

CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said the Left parties will remain united though they are taking different stands on Presidential poll issue.

”As far as Left Front is concerned, it will continue as ever, it will continue to be united as ever. This is only one single incident where there is a difference of opinion, a slight difference of opinion. We will continue our movements and struggles jointly,” he said.