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IANS

The Trinamool Congress said on Thursday that its MPs in both the Houses of the Parliament will abstain from voting in the poll to elect the next Vice President of India scheduled on August 6.

The decision was taken on Thursday afternoon at a meeting chaired by party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, which was attended by 33 out of the 35 Trinamool MPs.

"Each member was given the opportunity to present his/her views in front of the Chief Minister. Thereafter, 85 per cent of the MPs present at the meeting voiced in favour of abstaining from voting in the Vice Presidential poll," Trinamool's national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee told mediapersons after the meeting.

He said while the question of supporting NDA nominee Jagdeep Dhankhar does not arise, Trinamool has strong objections to the opposition parties announcing the candidature of Margaret Alva as their candidate without consulting the Trinamool leadership or Mamata Banerjee.

"Discussions were on with us over some probable names as the opposition candidate. But we were surprised in the manner in which suddenly a meeting of some opposition parties was convened at the residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar after which the name of Margaret Alva was announced as the opposition candidate.

"We have nothing against Margaret Alva. Mamata Banerjee shares a good relationship with her. But the point is her name was announced without consulting the Trinamool leadership," said Abhishek Banerjee.

When asked if Trinamool's decision will adversely impact the anti-BJP opposition unity in the country, Abhishek Banerjee said that opposition unity is not that fragile and it doesn't depend on voting in the Presidential or Vice Presidential polls.

"We are abstaining because we did not like the manner in which the name of the opposition candidate was announced without consulting us. But that does not mean that this development will affect the bigger opposition unity," he said.

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