Mukherjee aides take on Trinamul

On the eve of his resignation, UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee’s close aides came down heavily on the Trinamul Congress for accusing him of trying to break the party by calling up legislators individually. “The moment his candidature was declared, all the MPs and MLAs became his constituency. He has the right to campaign and seek support from them. There is nothing unethical about this and a man like Pranab Mukherjee does not have to learn ethics from Trinamul functionaries,” a close aide to Mr Mukherjee said.
Mr Mukherjee, who is expected to resign on Tuesday, will start his campaign from June 30. He will first visit DMK chief M. Karunandihi in Chennai, proceed to Hyderabad and then to Bengaluru. His whirlwind tour of these three regions will be completed by July 1. So far, the adviser to the finance minister, Ms Omita Paul, and Mr Mukherjee’s additional private secretary, Mr Pradyut Guha, have resigned. It was clarified by his office that the composition of his staff at Rashtrapati Bhavan has not been decided. “How can anyone decide before he is elected?” Mr Guha, who will accompany the UPA’s presidential candidate on his campaign tour, asked.
Recently, Trinamul leader Subrata Mukherjee accused the UPA’s presidential candidate of trying to break the outfit by individually calling its legislators and seeking support. “What Pranab Mukherjee is doing is unethical... He is trying to break the Trinamul. Both Pranab and Suman are masters of unethical politics,” West Bengal rural development minister and Trinamul leader Subrata Mukherjee had said. Mr Mukherjee had called Trinamul MP Kabir Suman seeking support.
Mr Mukherjee intends to call Mr Karunanidhi. “He was the first to take his name and only then whispers started among the allies for his candidature. Therefore, he will start his tour by visiting Karunanidhi, “ Mr Mukherjee’s aide said. Since AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa is supporting his rival, Mr P.A. Sangma, in the presidential poll, Mr Mukherjee is unlikely to meet her.
From Chennai, he will move to Hyderabad and the meet the Congress leaders. Mr Mukherjee’s camp is also looking at the option of “working on” YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy. Mr Sangma is also likely to meet Jagan to seek his support.
After his return from Bengaluru on July 1, Mr Mukherjee will travel to other parts of the country.

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