Congress, Trinamool say seat-sharing talks positive

Last Updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 22:01

Kolkata: Hopes brightened on Thursday for a seat-
sharing agreement between Congress and Trinamool Congress for
the crucial civic election to Kolkata Municipal Corporation
(KMC) after they held talks here with both sides playing down
their differences.

State Congress leaders Pradip Bhattacharjee and Subrata
Mukherjee met senior Trinamool Congress leader Partha
Chatterjee to work out a formula for seat adjustment.

Both Mukherjee and Chatterjee told reporters after the
one-and-a-half hour meeting that the "discussion was
positive".

Apparently hinting at a climbdown from his earlier stand,
Mukherjee, state Congress working president, said: "We are not
rigid on the number of seats. Talks were positive and will
continue."

Asked if his party still insisted on contesting 51 out of
141 seats in the Left Front controlled KMC, Trinamool leader
Partha Chatterjee replied "In all municipalities our aim is to
defeat the CPI(M). People want a change."

Though the TC leader did not clearly say as to how many
seats it was ready to concede to the Congress, party insiders
had earlier indicated that Trinamool would not concede all the
seats Congress wanted to contest.

In the last Lok Sabha polls in 2009 and Assembly
by-elections later, Trinamool Congress had forced Congress to
accept its seat-sharing terms.

Today`s parleys followed talks in Delhi between Union
Finance Minister and state Congress PCC president Pranab
Mukherjee and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

PCC leader Pradip Bhattacherjee said hurdles for a
seat-sharing arrangement in the districts of Nadia, Hooghly
and Murshidabad existed, though talks were progressing well
for North 24-Parganas, Burdwan and Cooachbehar districts.

The upcoming civic polls, being described as a semi-final
before the next year`s assembly elections, would be held on
May 30 in the KMC and 81 municipalities across the state.

The Left Front, which presently controls most of the
municipalities, faces a stiff challenge to recover its lost
ground prior to the Assembly polls after suffering a series of
drubbings starting with the Lok Sabha elections last year.

It has already released its list of nominees for the KMC
and for North 24-Parganas district where the maximum 21
municipalities, including the Bidhannagar Municipality, will
go to poll.

In Nadia and Murshidabad districts, Congress district
presidents Shankar Singh and Adhir Chowdhury are opposed to
any seat-adjustment with Trinamool Congress.

Meanwhile, leader of the Congress councillors in the city
civic body, Pradip Ghosh who was present at the meeting later
told reporters that the Trinamool Congress had offered 21
seats to the Congress to contest out of the total 141 "which
is not acceptable".

Ghosh said he had sent a fax to WBPCC chief Pranab
Mukherjee saying if the offer was accepted `it would be a
suicidal step` for the Congress.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 22:01

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