Chennai: Launching his campaign for the Presidential election in which he appears set for a cakewalk, UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday appealed to political parties which have not supported him to back his candidature, apparently eyeing Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
Mukherjee met UPA’s key partner DMK president M Karunanidhi at his CIT Nagar residence here, formally kickstarting the campaign.
The former finance minister, who enjoys a close rapport with Karunanidhi having been the emissary of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on many occasions, said it was natural to start the campaign from here as DMK was a stable partner of UPA.
“DMK is a stable partner of UPA-I and UPA II. Therefore, it is quite natural that I have started my campaign with the blessings and support of Dr Karunanidhi and from Chennai itself...”, Mukherjee told reporters ahead of his meeting with MPs and MLAs of Congress and other UPA allies to enlist their support.
Mukherjee, who is pitted against former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, said that apart from UPA, Samajwadi Party, BSP, CPI(M), Forward Bloc, JD(U) and Shiv Sena have extended their support to his candidature.
“I am seeking the support of those political parties who have not yet declared their choice for the Presidential election..”, he said.
His remarks are apparently aimed wooing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had promoted the candidacy of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, rejecting Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s proposal on Mukherjee.
After her joint proposal with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav backfired with the latter backing Mukherjee, Banerjee has kept everyone guessing on her support.
To a question, Mukherjee said “there is no scope of happening any miracle. After all, it is a matter of numbers. Therefore, there is no question of any miracle. I do not believe in any miracle”.
Mukherjee, for whom Karunanidhi had strongly pitched for even before Congress leadership went public with its Presidential nominee choice, chose Chennai to start his campaign at the behest of the 89-year old DMK patriarch.
Outgoing President Pratibha Patil had also preferred Chennai as the launch pad for her Presidential campaign in 2007.
A traditional welcome was given to Mukherjee when he arrived here. Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, her husband Aravindhan and DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu warmly greeted Mukherjee.
Earlier, Mukherjee who arrived by a special aircraft, was given a rousing reception at Tambaram Air Force Station. He was received by Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and V Narayanaswamy and state Congress leaders.