GUWAHATI, July 6 � UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee today said that he was hopeful of getting the support of Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in his bid for the post of the country�s President.
�Trinamool Congress has not yet decided its stand but I am hopeful of getting its support,� Mukherjee said at a press conference.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier proposed three names including Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Somnath Chatterjee and Dr Manmohan Singh but the UPA bypassed the proposals by naming then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as their candidate.
Mukherjee who arrived in the State today to start his campaign in the North-East had earlier interacted with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and APCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita. He was scheduled to meet the State�s legislators later in the evening.
Pointing out that the Congress has managed to garner the support of a number of parties at regional level, Mukherjee said that he had interacted with the AIUDF and the BPF both of which were supporting the UPA candidate.
Answering a query on the ceremonial nature of the President�s office, Mukherjee replied, �Is it simply ceremonial?... substantially yes but the President has a responsibility in advising the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister as also sending a message to Parliament as and when necessary.�
On the need or otherwise of a Presidential debate in the lines of the USA, Mukherjee said that since the Indian Presidential election differed fundamentally with that of the USA where the President was the executive head, �the scope for a debate does not arise.�
On the priorities of the President, Mukherjee said that the office of the Indian President had been adorned by many illustrious personalities and �they have charted the course of action for the successors.�
�I will follow the true spirit of the Constitution in the discharge of my responsibilities� preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution is the main responsibility of the President,� he said.