No `hitch` with TC in West Bengal: Congress

Congress made no bones about its ambition to increase its "political space" in West Bengal but at the same ruled out any "hitch" with its alliance partner Trinamool Congress over seat sharing in the poll-bound state.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2011, 21:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Monday made no bones
about its ambition to increase its "political space" in West
Bengal but at the same ruled out any "hitch" with its alliance
partner Trinamool Congress over seat sharing in the poll-bound
state.

"There is no hitch....every political party wants to
increase its political space," party spokesperson Manish
Tewari said in response to questions on delay in announcement
of seat sharing by both parties even as the ruling CPI-M
declared its candidates yesterday.
Tewari at the same indicated that hard bargaining will
continue between the two parties till the last moment before a
formal announcement is made.

He said that negotiations are done on a seat to seat
basis and different parties in alliance naturally have
different perceptions on each seat, which take time to
settle down.
Sources, however, indicated that the difference over
the number of seats has now narrowed down to just four or five
seats and Congress could now be getting 68 seats.

Senior leaders of both the parties had a series of
meetings yesterday to thrash out the differences with Union
Ministers from Trinamool Congress Mukul Roy and Sultan Ahmed
holding deliberations with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
and Congress Working Committee in-charge for West Bengal
Shakeel Ahmed among others.

Sources said that Congress, which had started with a
demand of nearly 100 seats, was finally agreeable to be
contesting 70 plus seats, while Trinamool Congress increased
its offer from 45 to 64 seats during various rounds of
negotiations.

Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit West Bengal in a
day or two for final round talks with Trinamool Congress chief
Mamata Banerjee, where both leaders can jointly announce seat
sharing.

PTI