Saturday, March 19, 2011

congress begs for two seats from mamta banerjee

19 March 2011


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Congress is reconciled to Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announcing her party candidates unilaterally on Friday, leaving just 64 seats for the Congress, and making the alliance in West Bengal a fait accompli.

Sonia Gandhi's diktat to Congress negotiator Pranab Mukherjee was to go for alliance come what may, no matter even if the party does not get the respectable number of seats in bargain nor does it get the winnable seats the state party leaders want.

Hence, the Congress has swallowed the insult and it is now persuading Mamata to at least give it two seats of Calcutta Port and Garden Reach that had elected the Congress MLAs last time, the party sources said.

However, if she sticks to her resolve not to yield a single seat to Congress in Kolkata, the Congress will press for giving it at least two more seats anywhere else, the sources said.

They said Mukherjee had agreed in principle to the seat share but requested Mamata to delay announcement of candidates until Sonia Gandhi returns from London where she went for giving a Commonwealth lecture as he smelt problem in case of at least two party MPs, both Muslims, threatening to field rebel candidates if she remains adamant in not giving the seats of their choice.

It is to be seen now if Sonia Gandhi is able to prevail upon the party MPs from Malda and Murshidabad not to field rebels, though Mamata smells more such rebels from the Congress camp jumping into the fray that she has told her partymen to take in their stride for not agreeing for some give and take on certain seats.

The Congress was also pushing for a share in power in case the alliance wins the majority but that too was shrugged off by Mamata and yet the Congress leaders involved in the negotiations expect that she will have to fall for a coalition government as they do not expect her Trinamul to get a clear majority on her own.


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