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Bengal battle: Deal through, Congress takes Mamata's 64 + 1

By Mohit sexena-New Delhi With Congress President Sonia Gandhi back from abroad today, the contentious issue of seat-sharing between the Congres and the Trinamool Congress for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls was put on fast-track with indications that the two parties are likely to work out their differences.
Sources also said the Congress high command is likely to abide by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee's decision to give her ally only 64 seats of the 294-seat Assembly. The Congress can get one more, sources said, taking its tally to 65.

Earlier in the day, a senior party leader had said the Congress has three lists ready, including one for all 294 constituencies.

Later in the day, Sonia Gandhi met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and her Political Secretary Ahmed Patel and thrashed out the best way to resolve the issue. The Congress has all along wanted 90 seats but Mamata was ready to give only 64.

There was no official word about what transpired at the hour-long meeting between Gandhi and Mukhejee. Mukherjee then spoke to Banerjee on the phone and conveyed Gandhi's views on the issue.

In the morning, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed had said the party wanted an alliance with the Trinamool Congress but at the same time had prepared a contingency plan to contest all Bengal seats.

Banerjee had sprung a surprise on the Congress on Friday by unilaterally announcing her party's decision to contest 228 seats.

Trinamool had made the announcement despite Congress seeking some more time as it could not reach a consensus on either the number of seats or the constituencies to be shared.

Acknowledging the stalemate, Ahmed today said, "We still do not have a consensus on the number of seats as well as the constituencies including some held by Congress. That's why there are differences in our perception.

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punem sexesena on 23:11 said...

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