Mamata's 'disgruntled' TMC decides to abstain from vice presidential polls
In an unexpected move, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) said on Thursday that it will not vote in the vice-presidential election since it was "not consulted" about Margaret Alva's candidacy. The party, however, stated that it cannot back the NDA's Jagdeep Dhankhar and would not support the Opposition's candidate either. The decision was made during a meeting at the home of party head Mamata Banerjee.
- The TMC decision comes only hours after the Opposition's presidential nominee Yashwant Sinha performed worse than expected against the NDA's Droupadi Murmu.
- The move is expected to dent the Opposition's unity as many party leaders voiced dismay.
- They say the announcement came even as Congress President Sonia Gandhi communicated with Mamata before revealing Alva's name.
TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee announced the party's decision, saying the party would not vote in the vice-president race because it cannot support NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has damaged Bengal throughout his stint as Governor. "On the other hand, Opposition parties chose Margaret Alva, but the process of choosing her was not right. They decided her candidature without proper consultation," he said.
Referring to the claims made by some senior Opposition leaders that they attempted to contact Mamata Banerjee, Abhishek stated that this was after the candidate was chosen. According to him, all 35 members of the parliaments of TMC were present at the meeting on Thursday and expressed their opinions. He said 85% of them believe the party should abstain.
Leaders also admitted it was a blow to the Opposition camp, optics-wise. "It is a symbolic fight. But the signal that the Opposition is divided will send a very bad message," The Indian Express quoted a senior leader as saying. Meanwhile, Congress and CPM dismissed Trinamool's claim of not being consulted on the matter, while alleging a "hidden pact" between the party and BJP.
On July 17, the Opposition named Margaret Alva, senior Congress leader, and former Rajasthan Governor, as the candidate for the post of vice president. The announcement was made by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar after a meeting of 17 Opposition parties. Alva is a five-time Member of Parliament and a former Union minister.
Alva's name was chosen at the Opposition gathering held at Pawar's residence. Senior leaders from the Shiv Sena, NCP, Samajwadi Party, CPI (M), RJD, and Congress, among others, attended the meeting. The TMC and AAP did not attend the meeting. Pawar, on the other hand, claimed that both TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and AAP National Convener Arvind Kejriwal were consulted and would back Alva.