Cong focus now shifts to ties with Trinamool
With the Congress-DMK alliance having reached a flashpoint, the UPA government’s lead partner’s position — in respect of seat-sharing arrangement with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress — for the upcoming elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly appears to have been compromised.
Even as the Congress has submitted a wish-list of 98 constituencies that it wanted, the Trinamool leadership is unwilling to concede more than 55 to 60 seats.
Arriving in New Delhi on Monday, Banerjee will work out the arithmetic of the seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress at a closed-door meetings with party colleagues.
She will also meet senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee and a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also on the cards.
State Congress chief Manas Bhuiyan is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday for talks with Shakeel Ahmed, the new party general secretary in charge of West Bengal.
The Congress demand is based on the 1:2 formula evolved during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. This leaves the Trinamool with 196 seats, which is two-third of the total strength.
“The Congress demand is ambitious. The TMC can agree to leave around 55-60 seats for the Congress,” a senior Trinamool leader said.
The Trinamool is understood to have arrived at the figure on the basis of the seat sharing arrangement it had with the Congress in 2001. Then, the Congress had settled for 57 seats, 26 less than the 83 seats it won in the 1996 elections.
But, poll managers of both parties are aware that they cannot fight the Left separately.