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CM last-hour call on polls

Calcutta, July 16: Mamata Banerjee will take the final call on whether her party will vote in or abstain from the presidential polls on July 18, a day before the elections.

On the same day, the Trinamul chief will decide on the strategy for the election to the Vice-President’s post.

Written messages have been sent to all Trinamul MPs and MLAs asking them to attend the Calcutta meeting where the decisions will be taken. “They will have to reach Calcutta by morning. The meeting will be held in the afternoon,” a Trinamul leader said.

Today, Mamata posted on Facebook a letter written to her by former Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi thanking her for proposing his name as the UPA’s Vice-President candidate.

Addressing Mamata as “dear and esteemed chief minister”, Gandhi wrote: “The consistency and steadfastness with which you have reposed trust in me, a non-political participant in our public life, has touched me…. I see in it a reflection of the overwhelming affection which the people of Bengal have extended to me, something which I shall always cherish and can never forget.”

Trinamul sources said the letter had “touched” Mamata.

The ruling party sources said the manner in which the CPM had declared its support for UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee and vice-presidential candidate Hamid Ansari, it would be difficult for her to vote alongside the rival party. “On one side, there is the Left and the other, the BJP. It would be difficult for us to be seen voting with either of them. Abstention would be the way out,” a Trinamul MP said.

A section in the party is in favour of dropping the ballot papers without casting any vote.

“She (Mamata) is seeing how the Congress treats her and her party. The Prime Minister had called up other parties before Saturday’s meeting to inform them that Ansari was the UPA’s choice. But he called up Mamatadi after the meet,” the Trinamul MP said.

Satabdi uninvited

Birbhum Trinamul MP Satabdi Roy and party MLA Swapan Kanti Ghosh, from the same district, were not invited to the inauguration of a party office in Suri. Roy said: “I went abroad and returned yesterday. District leaders had called me but I was sleeping.” Ghosh said: “I was not invited.”

Sources said event organiser Anubrata Mondal, the district Trinamul chief, was at loggerheads with Ghosh.