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WB Congress split over poll ties with Trinamool

Last Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:47

Kolkata: Differences within the state
Congress came to the fore on Wednesday following WBPCC chief Manas
Bhuniya`s setting conditions for seat-sharing with its ally
Trinamool for the ensuing Assembly polls in West Bengal.
A section of state Congress leaders today questioned
Bhuniya`s demand that the party should be given 98 (one-third)
of the 294 Assembly seats even before seat-sharing talks began
with Trinamool Congress.

"The seat-sharing talks is conducted between the
Congress high command and its alliance partner for the
assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Therefore, to place any demand
from the state party leadership this way before seat-sharing
talks begin will jeopardise the alliance," the new WBPCC
general secretary Amitava Chakraborty told PTI.

"We should not unnecessarily do anything to frustrate
the possibility of a tie-up with the Trinamool Congress by
setting down the terms of the alliance beforehand. It should
be left to the party high command," Chakraborty said.
Senior state Congress leader and former WBPCC working
president Pradip Bhattacherjee said, "Figures are decided
during negotiations. The PCC president may be saying this. But
the formula of seat-sharing is decided during the course of

"It was unfortunate that we could not tie-up with
Mamata Banerjee (the Trinamool chief) during the civic polls.
We should tie-up with Mamata this time, keeping in mind that
our primary objective is to put an end to the CPI(M)`s 35-year
misrule," he said.

Mamata Banerjee had given only 14 seats to the
Congress out of the 42 that the alliance contested in the
2009 Lok Sabha polls that stunned the Left.

"Congress must have 98 seats to contest, leaving 196
seats for Trinamool Congress," state Congress chief Manas
Bhuniya told a meeting here yesterday.

The equation has been worked out under a formula
giving two-third representation to the major partner
(Trinamool) and one-third to Congress.

Bhuniya, is among a section of state leaders,
including party MP Deepa Dasmunshi, who are known for adopting
a hardline stance on the issue of alliance with Trinamool.

Bhuniya`s comments came days after the Trinamool
supremo at a public meeting called for strengthening alliance
with Congress.

"I welcome Banerjee`s call. To make the alliance
credible to the people, it must be based on joint-movement,"
Bhuniya said, while addressing a meeting yesterday with two
smaller parties -- People`s Democratic Conference of India and
Party For Democratic Socialism -- with which state Congress
had recently forged alliance.


First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:47

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