The possibility of a grand alliance against the Left in West Bengal increased with the Congress and Trinamool Congress trying to sort out their differences on Sunday.
Sources indicated the Trinamool, which had earlier offered 58 seats, would concede around 65 seats including 'quality seats' to Congress, which in turn would climb down from its demand of 98 seats.
Amid reports that the Congress is still keen to contest around 70 seats, the deal is expected to be struck when Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee meet in Kolkata, perhaps on Monday.
"History will never forgive us if we miss this chance (to oust the Left)," said a leader.
With the Left Front announcing their candidate list on Sunday, the two parties made hectic efforts in the Capital to resolve their differences. Trinamool's interlocutors and union ministers Mukul Roy and Sultan Ahmed had a prolonged meeting with Congress leaders Janardan Poojary, Shakeel Ahmed and Manas Bhunia. The Congressmen then briefed Mukherjee on the discussions.
"Talks are going on. We are hopeful that soon the seat sharing will be finalised," said Shakeel Ahmed, CWC member-in-charge of Bengal. He refused to go into the details but saw nothing wrong in parties seeking a larger number of seats. "Every party wants the best deal for itself," he said, while underlining the need to maintain honour and dignity in the alliance.
"The seat sharing will be finalised soon," said Roy. The talks were "very fruitful," said his colleague Sultan Ahmed.
The leadership of the two parties will discuss the points raised by each other on Sunday before Mukherjee and Banerjee meet in Kolkata.