West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said opposition parties might have considered backing NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, a tribal leader of the saffron party from Odisha, had the BJP held a discussion with them before fielding her.
Maintaining that Murmu had better chances to win the July 18 presidential election, with NDA’s numbers having got boosted after the change of guard in Maharashtra, Banerjee stressed that "a consensus candidate is always better for the country".
"BJP's presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu has better chances (to win presidential polls) because of Maharashtra development. If the BJP had asked for our suggestion before announcing the name of Murmu, we could have considered it, too, bearing greater interests in mind," Banerjee told reporters on the sidelines of a Rath Yatra program here.
Non-BJP parties, including the Congress as well as the TMC, have named former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as the joint nominee for the presidential polls. The TMC supremo said that she "will go by what the opposition parties decide".
"We would have tried (fielding a woman). Some 16-17 political parties came together to make a decision, I will not be able to take a call alone. I want the presidential elections to be held peacefully. I have equal respect for all religions, races, and creeds. "I feel sad that there is a contest. But I think all Dalits, all tribals are with us. We do not create divisions among people," she added.
Hitting out at Banerjee, meanwhile, Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury alleged that the TMC chief “made the statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's instructions”. "She made a secret pact with Modi and that got exposed once again. She chose the candidate (for presidential polls) and we supported that. Our whimsical ‘didi’ is now acting as a BJP agent. The BJP plunged into the elections with Draupadi Murmu after ensuring that it has the numbers... It's not a big discovery that Murmu will win," Chowdhury said when contacted.