WB: Trinamool gives another day to Congress on seat-sharing deal

Mamata Banerjee warned Cong that TMC would unilaterally declare its candidates if the talks fail.

Updated: Mar 17, 2011, 17:41 PM IST

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata
Banerjee, who had set this evening as the deadline for the
Congress to come to an agreement on seat-sharing, would wait
till today following talks with the Congress high command.

A highly-placed Trinamool source today said it is
therefore unlikely that the list of Trinamool Congress
candidates for the Assembly poll will be released today.

``We cannot wait till March 21. It seems we are not
releasing our list of candidates today and would wait for the
day,`` the source said adding `I cannot say exactly what
transpired in the telephonic talks with the Congress high
command`. He would not elaborate.

A close aide of Mukherjee, however, said to a news agency that from
Delhi that there were talks over telephone between Mukherjee
and Mamata Banerjee yesterday. He refused to give any further
details.

PCC general secretary Krishna Debnath said that a Pradesh
Congress election meeting was held today in the wake of the
`the latest development` to take stock of the situation.

She said five party Lok Sabha members from West Bengal --
Adhir Chowhury (Berhampore Lok Sabha seat), Deepa Dasmunshi
(Raiganj seat), A H Khan Chowdhury (Malda-South constituency),
Abdul Mannan Hossain (Murshidababad) and Mausum Benajir Noor
(Malda North) -- have been summoned to Delhi today by
Mukherjee for discussion on the seat-sharing deal.

Yesterday Trinamool Congress had rejected Congress` plea
to defer finalization of seat-sharing till the return of AICC
president Sonia Gandhi from abroad and threatened to release
the list of its candidates if no agreement was reached by
today.

Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy said here yesterday
that Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel had spoken to
party chief Mamata Banerjee yesterday and requested her to
wait till March 21 when Gandhi would return from abroad for
the finalization of seat-sharing.

However, Banerjee had told Patel that she could wait only
till Thursday (March 17) evening and announce the list of
Trinamool candidates if the Congress high command failed to
resolve the deadlock on seat-sharing by that time, Roy said.

Congress sources in Delhi said Mamata has offered 62
seats to it, up from 58 she had offered initially, but the
revised figure is not acceptable to the party.

Congress leaders are expecting around 70 seats to be
allotted to the party from Mamata. West Bengal Assembly has
294 seats.

Two Congress seats in Kolkata -- Kabitirtha and Garden
Reach - have disappeared after delimitation. And in their
place two new seats were created -- Kolkata Port and
Metiabruz.

Mamata wants two of these constituencies - a demand not
acceptable to Congress.

PTI