TMC-Cong alliance hope brightens Monday

Kolkata, Mar 21 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS): The battle of nerves between the Congress and Trinamool Congress headed by Mamata Banerjee may end with an amicable seat sharing settlement,  media reports said on Monday.

On Friday Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee announced her list of 228 candidates (leaving 64 for Congress) for the coming 294-member West Bengal Assembly elections after seat sharing talks with Congress hit a roadblock.
Congress said on Saturday the decision was unilateral and not agreeable to the national party.
But the clouds are clearing on Monday with Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi, who has returned from abroad, and party trouble shooter Pranab Mukherjee taking the call in New Delhi, reports quoting party sources said.
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Mamata Banerjee over phone on Monday and the latter might call a press conference in evening to announce the decision.
Under the new arrangement, Trinamool Congress might concede one more seat to Congress, making it 65 for the national party it shores up at the centre, vernacular media report here said.
The seat could be 100 km within Kolkata, a prominent Bengali channel reported.
Earlier Congress said it was unhappy with Mamata’s unilateral decision to announce names of candidates.
“She announced seats unilaterally. We are not in agreement with the list announced by her,”  Ahmed Patel, the Congress leader and political secretary of party chief Sonia Gandhi, had said.

“After Holi we will take the final call,” he had said.

Congress had earlier asked for 90 seats.

Mamata Banerjee declared the names of 228 candidates at a press conference Friday.

“We have kept 64 seats for Congress since the door for an alliance is still open. They are a big party but in Bengal we are the main party,” she said.

Mamata did not leave any seat for Congress in Kolkata, despite demands by the latter.

“We waited for 18 days since announcement of polls because we are for alliance. We have sent our representative to them again and again and also I went myself as you know,” she said.

Stung by corruption scandals and its image tainted by alliance partners like DMK over mobile spectrum scam, Congress would not antagonize Trinamool Congress, a coalition party with clean image, political analysts said.

Trinamool Congress left two seats for its alliance partner Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI), a left party outside the ruling Left Front.

West Bengal is going to vote from Apr 18, in six phases, for its 294-seat Assembly, in a watershed election with the ruling communists facing the most difficult poll battle of its tenure owing to the growing strength of Mamata Banerjee’s party and setbacks over its land acquisition policies.

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