Cong asks its candidate Mannan to withdraw from WB RS polls

Apparently under pressure from Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, Congress on Thursday asked its candidate Abdul Mannan to withdraw from the Rajya Sabha elections in West Bengal.

"I have asked Mannan this morning to withdraw his nomination so as to avoid any adverse impact on the alliance with Trinamool Congress," senior leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of Congress affairs in West Bengal, said.

The move comes on the last day of withdrawal of nominations for the Rajya Sabha polls.

The Congress move to put up the candidate had led to the Trinamool Congress and West Bengal Chief Minister hinting at her displeasure by noting that the party cannot win without the support of the Left Front.

Banerjee had said if there was an ‘understanding’ between the Congress and the Left in the Rajya Sabha election, then it could happen for ‘bigger things’, which would ‘not be a good development’.

The Trinammol chief had refused to leave one seat for the Congress.

She has put up Union Minister Mukul Roy and three journalists as her party's nominees for the four seats it is contesting.

The issue become a bone of contention between the two parties after the exit of Dinesh Trivedi as Railway Minister.

Congress had set up a four-member group including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed last night to take a decision on the issue.

Congress has 42 votes and assured support by an independent and needed seven seats more for its candidates to win. Withdrawal of the Congress from the race meant that it did not want the Left parties, which have 10 surplus votes, to back its nominee as it would have antagonised Banerjee.

Besides Mamata's expression of displeasure, the fate of the upcoming Finance Bill and presidential polls could have weighed heavily on the Congress leadership. The Trinamool leadership was also not keen to be seen as working to the defeat of a candidate from the minority community.

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