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So far, hope and little else

- Sangma meets mamata

Calcutta, June 26: President-aspirant P.A. Sangma today left Writers’ Buildings with hope instead of a firm assurance of support after meeting chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

“I am going back with a lot of hope for the President’s election from the Trinamul Congress and Mamata Banerjee. In 2004, when I quit the NCP, Mamatadi had supported me. I expect she would help me this time also,” Sangma said before leaving the state secretariat.

Sources said that inside the chief minister’s chamber, Sangma spent nearly 30 minutes seeking her support for the July 19 election.

Ever since Mamata made it clear that she would not support Pranab Mukherjee, Sangma has been banking on getting Mamata by his side.

“I came here to request her to support my candidature in the President’s election. Bhalo alochona hoyechhe (We had constructive talks). I am very happy with the outcome,” Sangma said.

Trinamul insiders said the chances of Mamata supporting Sangma’s candidature were few and far between because of three key factors —BJP’s support for the former NCP leader, CPM’s tactical move of supporting Mukherjee and apprehensions about cross-voting by Trinamul MPs and MLAs.

“As of now, abstention seems to be the strategy,” a Trinamul MP told The Telegraph. “Our chief minister has been championing the cause of minorities and she has managed to win them over from CPM. In such a scenario, if Trinamul is seen voting alongside BJP, it would send a wrong signal before the panchayat polls,” he added.

According to a senior Trinamul leader, Mamata cannot rush to a decision after the emergence of Mukherjee as the most likely occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mukherjee has not just got the support of NDA allies Janta Dal (United) and Shiv Sena, he has also won over CPM and Forward Bloc.

Another factor that may prevent Mamata from supporting Sangma is her apprehension about cross-voting by some party MPs and MLAs, said a source.

It could not be confirmed if the constraints facing Mamata came up for discussion during the meeting, where railway minister Mukul Roy and party MP Subrata Bakshi were also present.