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WB Cong seeks Mamata support for Pranab

Kolkata: Softening its hard stance against ally Trinamool Congress` opposition to Pranab Mukherjee`s candidature for the President`s post, Congress in West Bengal today held out an olive branch seeking Mamata Banerjee`s support for the outgoing Finance Minister.

"We expect all parties in West Bengal, whether Congress or Trinamool Congress or Left parties, to come together to support Pranab Mukherjee, not because he is a Bengali but as someone who has come up from Bengal," WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya told reporters here.

"We hope no party in West Bengal will support Purno A Sangma," Bhattacharya said. Criticising Sangma, who has been given support by the BJP in his bid to become President, for seeking a debate with Congress nominee Mukherjee, he said, "But this is not the US presidential election. Doesn`t he know that the President of India is not an executive head?"

Bhattacharya claimed that calling for such a debate showed that Sangma had no proper knowledge of the President`s role in India. "He has talked about conscience. Is he trying to supersede the thoughts and ideologies of political parties which decide on whom their party MLAs and MPs would vote for?" he asked. Sangma had earlier this week called for a debate between the Presidential candidates by saying that it was needed in a democracy.

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