M A I N   N E W S

Mamata leaves 64 seats for Cong
Unilaterally declares 226 candidates’ list
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, March 18
Mamata Banerjee today declared the list of Trinamool Congress’candidates in 226 seats, with two seats for partner Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and the remaining 64 seats for the Congress.

Mamata said this was the maximum number of seats which the Congress could claim and if it was fighting elections jointly with the TMC in the coming elections, the party with a strength of only 17 MLAs in the Assembly could bag at least 60 seats.

Mamata said the Trinamool Congress would wait until Monday for the Congress either to accept or reject the offer, then the TMC would declare its candidates in the remaining 64 seats also. She was hopeful that good sense would prevail in the WBPCC leadership and they would launch the poll campaign forthwith jointly with the TMC for defeating the CPM and other parties.

When the TMC supremo was formally releasing the candidates list in 266 seats, at an urgent meeting at Bidhan Bhavan the WBPCC prepared a list of candidates in 90 seats, which they claimed was their legitimate demand. An aggrieved WBPCC delegation led by the president Mansh Bhuiya would leave for New Delhi tomorrow for the clearance of the new candidate lists in 90 seats.

Bhuiya strongly criticised Banerjee for not waiting till Sunday before declaring the TMC’s lists.

Banerjee said her party did not want to waste time in bargaining over seats with the Congress since latter’s leaders did not respond to reason.

“Our purpose is to win the maximum number of seats by jointly fighting against the CPM and seat-sharing had been done accordingly. We also informed the AICC leadership and Pranab Mukherjee about our strategy. But unfortunately some Congress leaders who do not have any base in the area had demanded more seats for them which we did not agree. After all we cannot allow our Congress candidates to lose in many seats by fighting on a large number of seats which will be helpful to the CPM,” she remarked.

Sonia’s word awaited

Following the unilateral announcement of candidates’ list by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, the Congress is waiting for party president Sonia Gandhi to return from London to take the final decision on whether to contest “the only 64 seats” left for it by its West Bengal ally or all 294 seats in the coming state Assembly elections.

Party’s in charge of West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress had wanted some more time to discuss the constituencies offered to them by the Trinamool and conveyed the same to Mamata. — TNS





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