As it finalized the seat-sharing for West Bengal Assembly polls, Congress has probably learnt the hard way that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is not DMK supremo M Karunanidhi who could be pushed around.
Mamata, who parted ways with Congress nearly 15 years ago, showed she was a tough bargainer, virtually telling the ruling party at the Centre that the seat-sharing for the Assembly polls would be on her own terms.
A senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, said that at first Mamata was not ready to give more than 58 seats in protracted negotiations over seat-sharing for the 294-member Assembly. The talk in Congress circles was that she started the negotiations by offering 45 seats initially.
This was against a demand of 90 put forward by Congress with the PCC chief Manas Bhuniya telling the AICC in writing that the party should pitch for 98 seats, one third of the Assembly seats.
After Sonia Gandhi's intervention, Mamata gave only one more seat than 64 agreed earlier to Congress. But that seat is supposed to be a Marxist stronghold which is a hard climb for any non-Left party.
This is perhaps for the first time in recent years that Congress had been treated so shabbily by a powerful regional ally which wanted to dominate the entire political space in a state.