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No Cong-TMC consensus yet; Sonia meets Pranab

CNN-IBN
Mar 22, 2011 at 05:55pm IST

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi over the issue of alliance with Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

Less that a month to go for elections in West Bengal and the Congress and Trinamool Congress are still sparring over seats.

A final call in this regard will be taken by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

A clear indication to this effect was given by senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal.

Ahmed on Monday said that the party still wants an alliance with the TMC. "There has been no decision taken on Congress-TMC seat sharing. We will take a final decision as soon as possible," he said.

"We are preparing three lists - for 64 seats, 90 seats and all 294 seats ...as a political party must have candidates for all seats," he said.

At the same time, he said Congress wanted the alliance to take place. "Congress still wants the alliance" and party leaders from West Bengal will abide by "whatever decision Congress high command takes in this regard," he said.

He said that both the parties have not reached any consensus on the number of seats and the quality of seats for the West Bengal polls.

"Congress will take its own time to decide," said Ahmed.

Congress is likely to take a decision on Monday on Mamata Banerjee's offer of 64 seats.

TMC sources said that Mamata Banerjee might not announce candidates for the 64 seats left for Congress and that the party might wait for the Congress High Command's decision.

Congress has been asking for 98 winnable seats. In Assam too, Mamata has been creating problems for the Congress, keeping all 126 for her party.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had sprung a surprise on 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 said, "We still do not have 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."

(With additional information from PTI)

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