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Pranab lines up meet with Left

Calcutta, June 28: UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee will meet Left MLAs in the Assembly on July 9 to seek their support for the July 19 poll.

“Pranabda will arrive in Calcutta on July 8 evening. On July 9, he will visit the Assembly and hold talks with the Congress and the Left legislature parties. He will seek their support for the presidential elections,” state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said today.

It is learnt that Mukherjee will first meet the Left MLAs at 10am and later hold talks with the Congress legislators.

Bhattacharya called up Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra to fix the schedule of the meeting with the Left.

The CPM and the Forward Bloc, with 51 MLAs, have already pledged support to Mukherjee. But the RSP and the CPI, which have nine legislators, have declared they would abstain from voting.

According to a CPM MLA, the chances of RSP and CPI MLAs attending the meeting are remote given their parties’ stand. “How will they be part of a meeting with Pranabbabu after saying they will abstain? It’s unlikely,’’ the MLA said.

Bhattacharya has asked the Congress legislature party to ensure all party MLAs are present. “You should make all efforts to ensure that all our MLAs are present at Pranabda’s meeting,’’ Bhattacharya was quoted as telling party colleague Mohammad Sohrab.

Asked about the possibility of the UPA presidential candidate meeting chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the visit, Bhattacharya said: “I can’t talk about that. But if Trinamul changes its stand and decides to support Pranabda, he will definitely meet the Trinamul MLAs as well.”

Before the 2007 presidential polls, Congress nominee Pratibha Patil had met Left MLAs in the Assembly.