Congress leaders from West Bengal discuss alliance with TMC

Amid growing resentment among party leaders in West Bengal over TC` unilateral announcement to contest 228 seats, senior Congress leaders met here to finalise candidates for the assembly elections.

Updated: Mar 21, 2011, 00:29 AM IST

New Delhi: Amid growing resentment among
party leaders in West Bengal over TC` unilateral announcement
to contest 228 seats, senior Congress leaders met here on Sunday to finalise candidates for the assembly elections.

Party sources said that a large number of state
leaders feel that the Congress should call the Trinamool
Congress` "bluff" and should not accept the offer of the 64
seats made by Mamata Banerjee.

It is learnt that West Bengal Pradesh Congress
Committee chief Manas Bhuniya, who arrived here last night,
has already finalised the candidates for the 90 assembly seats
on which the Central leadership of the Congress has to take a
final call.
A meeting of the party`s screening committee for West
Bengal chaired by Janardhan Poojari discussed the list of the
candidates prepared by the PCC. Today`s meeting was also
attended by other screening committee members including
Bhuniya, P J Kurian and Working Committee Member in-charge for
West Bengal Shakeel Ahmad.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had held with them
over the issue last night.

Senior MP Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury had yesterday said
that the Trinamool`s unilateral announcement to the seats was
an insult to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. He had also alleged
that the Mamata Banerjee`s party wanted to marginalise
Congress in West Bengal.
Another party MP Deepa Dasmunshi had earlier expressed
reservations against "succumbing to the pressure of Trinamool
Congress."

Sources in the party said although party Chief Sonia
Gandhi has been strongly supporting the continuation of the
alliance, the sudden announcement of seats by Banerjee had not
gone down well with the Congress leadership.

Congress is likely to take a final decision on the
issue of alliance in a day or two. Gandhi, who is in London,
is expected to be back here tonight.

Trinamool Congress on Friday unilaterally announced
its list of 228 candidates for the election to 294-member West
Bengal Assembly and set a Monday deadline for Congress to
accept the 64 seats allotted to it.

Banerjee had said, "We will be happy if Congress
fields its candidates in 64 constituencies after seat
adjustment. Else, we will announce our candidates in
those seats by Monday."

PTI