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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Seat sharing in Bengal: Mamata meets PM, Pranab

Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 05, 2011
First Published: 00:02 IST(5/1/2011) | Last Updated: 00:04 IST(5/1/2011)

Continuing the process of informal talks on seat sharing for the 294-member West Bengal assembly, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee drove down to 7 Race Course late on Tuesday evening for a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

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For the records the meeting was called to discuss to this year's railway budget, but issues concerning the Congress-Trinamool tie-up in Bengal also figured at the meet, sources said.

Emerging out of the half hour meeting, Mukherjee described Banerjee's visit as a "courtesy call", before she presents the next Railway budget. Banerjee herself remained unavailable for comments.

Ahead of Chief Election Commissioner SY Quareshi's scheduled visit to Kolkata on January 8, Trinamool leaders are also building up a case for early elections in Bengal.

"A three-phased poll around mid-February will be ideal, as a delayed election will provide greater opportunities to the incumbent Left Front government to sabotage the process" senior TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya said.

During their three-day tour, the high-level election commission team including election commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma will review the poll preparations in five districts of North Bengal and two districts of South Bengal.

Over the past weeks, a series of informal talks have been going on between the Congress and Trinamool leaders.

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