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Trinamool, BJP disagree on seats

M Chhaya in Kolkata | March 05, 2004 16:10 IST
Last Updated: March 05, 2004 16:16 IST

The Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are engaged in a bitter tussle for seats that might eventually see the two allies locked in a 'friendly fight' in at least two constituencies in West Bengal.

The BJP has said that it would not baulk from friendly contests against the Trinamool in Purulia and Bankura, where the party believes it could perform better than its partner, even though this could endanger the alliance's chances.

While the Trinamool Congress has already announced its candidates for the two constituencies, the BJP has said the matter is not over. "We haven't given away the seats to them [Trinamool]," state BJP president Tathagata Roy told "We think our prospects are better and we deserve the seats."

Roy, who left for New Delhi today, said he would discuss the matter with the central leadership. "The final decision lies with the central leadership," he said, but added that he would recommend 'friendly fights' in seats where no unanimity is reached.

The Trinamool Congress has named candidates for 27 seats, including Purulia and Bankura, leaving 12 to the BJP. No decision has been taken on the remaining three Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee has said she will not make any further concessions to the BJP. Reacting angrily to Roy's statement on 'friendly fights', she said: "Why not have friendly fights in all seats?"

But the BJP leadership is believed to be favourably disposed to Roy's proposal, with party president M Venkaiah Naidu indicating as much. Trinamool sources, however, said they are waiting to hear from the BJP formally before deciding on their next step.

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