Trinamool takes 'painful' decision to back Pranab
"We have decided to support Pranab Mukherjee keeping in mind the alliance we have with the Congress," a sombre Banerjee told the media after a meeting of her party's senior MPs and legislators.
Mukherjee told journalists: "I welcome this decision."
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said this would further strengthen Mukherjee's candidature. But the BJP demanded to know the "compulsions" behind Banerjee's dramatic U-turn.
The West Bengal chief minister said she had informed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the decision. She added that UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi was "well aware of her mind".
"In the interest of the people, democracy ... we have decided to vote for him."
In comments that made it clear that she was miffed with Mukherjee, she called the decision "painful and tough".