Stalemate over Prez poll may see Cong, TMC parting ways

 Trinamool Congress’ days as an alliance partner of the Congress may be numbered if the party fails to support United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election.

“If theTMC does that, then it will be difficult for the Congress and UPA to continue to bear West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s tantrums,” a section of Congress leaders have hinted that the relations between the parties can go downhill after July 19 presidential elections.

Mamata Banerjee, who had rejected Mukherjee’s candidature for elections to country’s highest constitutional office, has not yet made her stand clear on the presidential poll.

“We are waiting for the elections to the office of President. If the TMC does not support the UPA candidate then it will be difficult to tolerate Mamata’s tantrums,” senior Congress functionaries have said.

Asked if the Congress will show the door to Mamata from the UPA, they quipped: “We will not ask her to leave the government, but it will become untenable for her to continue in the government.  “Do you think she (Mamata) will be comfortable in the coalition after opposing Pranabda.”

Ties between the Congress and TMC, the largest constituent of ruling UPA coalition at the Centre with 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha, have not been in best of terms in the recent past.

The UPA government had put certain proposals such as FDI in multi-brand retail sector and formation of  National Counter-Terrorism Centre in cold storage because of opposition from its troublesome ally.

Reflecting the angst in the party after Mamata rejected Mukherjee’s candidature and her continued defiance, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh had described the TMC leader as “erratic” and “immature” and stressed there is a “limit” to the party's patience.

Replying to a question in an interview to a TV channel last month whether the Congress is ready to bend over backwards to prevent Banerjee's exit from the UPA if she chooses to leave the ruling alliance, Singh had said:  "All efforts have been made to console her, accept her views, accept her tantrums. There is a limit to which you can bend to...there are certain eventualities, which if it cannot be avoided have to be faced."

However, realising the importance of TMC votes in the Presidential poll if and when it decides to vote, the Congress had snubbed its leader saying Singh was “not officially authorised to speak on behalf of the party.”

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